Turkey, Russia pursue gas pipe dream as EU frets

2 Aug 2016   Russia, Turkey

Declarations by Russia and Turkey last week reviving plans for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline linking the two have worried EU diplomats who see it strengthening Moscow’s hand – but analysts say the project is more rhetoric than reality. EU officials fear that TurkStream will be expanded to bypass Ukraine as a transit route for supplies to Europe, increasing dependence on Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and shutting in alternative supplies from the Caspian region. “Turkey’s new friendship with Russia might become an issue if Russia tries to replace Turkey for Ukraine,” a senior EU official said. “It makes sense for Turkey to get cheap gas from Russia, but it will come with strings attached: That is likely to be a problem for us.” However, the entente, almost a year after Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane, remains fragile, analysts say, particularly amid turmoil caused by the failed coup […]

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