сряда, 13 май 2015 г.

Miller: Turk Stream ready by end of 2016? - read the fine print

Any time announcements are made on the Russian side - be it the CEO or high government official level - on agreements or progress regarding the Turk Stream it is worth seeking confirmation from the Turkish side. Ever since President Putin delivered in Ankara the breaking news of the detour of South Stream into Turkey and the strategic agreement reached, observers could not but note the deliberate silence of President Erdogan's and the reserved comments made at the top in Turkey.

Not only it took Ankara several months to substantiate the energy news coming from Gazprom but in most cases public comments were focused on maintaining the opposite message - i.e. the Turkish Stream is not a priority and Ankara would never, if push comes to shove, sacrifice its role as a conduit for non-Russian gas supplies.

After Miller's fresh round of "breaking news" that Turkish Stream will be build by the end of 2016 influential Turkish commentators referred to the "manipulative" nature of Gazrpom's interpretation of the results of Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz meeting with the Gazprom's head, Alexey Miller.

The Turkish side has yet to announce and confirm that not only an agreement was reached but to confirm the the project milestones' dates as there is lack of evidence in a preceding intergovernmental agreement..

Read the fine print in the words of Volkan Ediger from Kadir Has University: "Turkey should designate its terms officially. Otherwise, it could get harmed during the process".

That is not an academic figure talking - this goes to the core concern at the top in Ankara - that flirts with Moscow might considerably downgrade Turkey status as a hub for non-Russian gas from Azerbaidjan, Turkmenstan and the Middle East confining it to role of yet another transit country of Russian gas - replacement of Ukraine. A second fiddle by all standards.

Instead of adding geostrategic value to Turkey's international asset base the Turkish Stream if Russia's intentions are met will substantially lower Ankara bargaining positiion with the EU and the US, not least of all with its neighbours.

Without Gazprom resolving the Turk Stream equation in Turkey, Ankara and Brussels coming to terms  - on both accounts this seems highly uncertain - all talk of subsequent Greek, Macedonian, Serbian etc streams, and of bypassing Bulgaria should be treated as pure geopolitical hype.

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