Erdogan accepts Putin’s plan for Turkey to become Russian gas hub

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to make Turkey a hub for Russian natural gas.

Erdogan, addressing his parliamentary deputies on Wednesday, said Turkey got a vital opportunity by accepting Putin’s plan.

“European countries are currently trying to find where to source natural gas,” he said. “Thank God Turkey doesn’t have such a problem. Hopefully we will soon become a hub for natural gas.

Last week, Putin said the gas would be redirected via Turkey from Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea, which were damaged by explosions last month.

Russia is already supplying Turkey’s TurkStream gas pipeline under the Black Sea. But the Kremlin admitted the pipeline had limited additional capacity. By the time new capabilities have been created, said international relations professor Senem Duzgit of Istanbul’s Sabanci University, Europe will likely have secured alternative supplies.

“I mean, who is going to buy this energy? he said, “I mean, realistically, if the Europeans refuse to buy this gas, who is going to buy it?” So, for whom will Turkey be a center? Right? Who will be the destination of this gas? That’s what I’m just not convinced of.

Putin’s hub proposal comes as Ankara seeks to position itself as an alternative to Russian energy for Europe, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin pointed out on Wednesday.

Kalin said: “Putin’s offer is very important. But if Europe is looking for alternatives to Russian gas, there are two places it can find it: via a gas pipeline from Azerbaijan that crosses Turkey, and possible Iranian gas in the future, again. , using Turkish pipelines.”

Putin seemed to take Ankara by surprise with his gas hub plan. The proposal came as Turkey faced increasing scrutiny from its Western allies for its refusal to apply sanctions against Russia. Washington and the European Union have warned that Turkey could face secondary sanctions if it violates its measures against Russia.

Ankara denies any wrongdoing, but Putin’s gas proposals come as the West’s patience may be at an end, warned Maria Shangina, international sanctions specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“The more Turkey explodes this space between legal and illegal activities with Russia, I think there could be a breaking point for the West to impose sanctions,” she said.

But some analysts point out that Erdogan will try to accommodate Putin, given that he tries to negotiate a lower price for Russian gas and a delay in payments until after the Turkish presidential elections next year. Erdogan is looking to bring inflation down to near triple digits as most opinion polls point to his electoral defeat.

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