Putin’s “Turkish Stream” fiasco

"Reality," cartoon by Sergey Elkin

"Reality," cartoon by Sergey Elkin 

Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

The “Turkish Stream” idea provides additional evidence of Putin’s self-delusion in foreign policy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to meet with his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an attempt to salvage one of his own ventures — the Turkish Stream project.

In Moscow they call this project Putin’s personal initiative, which has not been seriously worked out with experts and which has become proof of the self-delusion that Putin demonstrates in conducting the foreign policy of his country. Putin was furious that the EU had not allowed Russia to build the South Stream gas pipeline without fulfilling the relevant EU’s requirements and so he decided to “punish” the Europeans. Without any prior consultation with other project participants, he announced the suspension of the negotiations and the construction of the South Stream while putting forward the Turkish Stream alternative instead.

From the very beginning it was unclear how Turkish Stream was supposed to function, since Putin argued that the European countries needed to build the gas delivery infrastructure from the Turkish borders themselves and existing agreements did not provide for it. Nevertheless, preparations for the construction began and Putin even promised that Russia would participate in building sections of the gas pipeline in Greece.

But here it turned out that the biggest problem was not with the European Union but with Turkey. President Erdogan supported his Russian colleague’s initiative. However, in return, he demanded a significant reduction in gas prices for his country. Turkey and Russia agreed to a discount on Friday, July 31, but until that time the Turkish gas companies had absolutely no interest in discussing construction of the pipeline with Russia. Moreover, Ankara agreed to build only one branch of the pipeline — to deliver gas to Turkey. But in order to become an alternative gas pipeline, Russia would need to build four branches. But Turkey no longer accepts that option.

Against this backdrop, Gazprom’s dependence on Ukrainian transit became obvious even for such an amateur and fantasist as Putin. The Russian president ordered that negotiations with Ukraine on the gas transit continue. But the negotiations on the construction of the Turkish stream have ended in a complete fiasco. And right now the two sides are relying exclusively on the presidents. Putin really wants to discuss the future of his phantasmagorical invention with Erdogan. However, even the date of the meeting of the leaders of the two countries has not yet been set. In the Kremlin they could only say it would take place in the fall.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Radio Svoboda

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    Does the demented dwarf really think that Turkey will overlook that the he is persecuting the Crimean Tatars, their co-religionists and ethnic brethren? He needs Erdogan far more than vice versa. So you can bet your last worthless ruble that Ankara will drive a very hard bargain indeed, one that probably means that Dwarfstan will suffer yet another financial loss with this pointless project- IF it goes ahead at all.

    Meet Tsar Vladimir the not-so-Great, the “master strategist” who is driving his country to ruin. And all because of his obsession with destroying the Ukraine as an independent sovereign nation. Give up, Vlad, you can’t win.

  • Eddy Verhaeghe

    Even Putin cannot trump ‘economics 101’. No one builds extra pipelines (Nord Stream & Turkish Stream) when there’s no need for them apart from using them as a geopolitical means to put pressure on Ukraine.
    Putin is squandering Russia’s scarce resources and in the end will wreck Russia’s economy.

  • Dirk Smith

    This thug has failed on all counts. He now only relies on nationalist propaganda to remain in power. The well is running dry on Milosevic Jr.

  • Vol Ya

    Turkey should not be holding any talks with this fascist russiaa dictator. Have they completely forgotten what putin did to the Crimean Tatars, putin is committing genocide in Crimea, he is set on destroying and removing the Tatars from Crimea.