Turkey new Gas Hub for Russia: Putin and Erdogan on the phone, here’s what they said

Lorenzo Bagnato


16/01/2023 - 17:24

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Vladimir Putin does not intend to give up on Russia’s exports of oil and gas, and that’s why they need to rely on Turkey.

Turkey new Gas Hub for Russia: Putin and Erdogan on the phone, here's what they said

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Monday, engaging in a friendly discussion on international geopolitics.

Diplomatic ambiguity” is the perfect way to describe the geopolitical strategy of Turkey. Along with China, Turkey is the most powerful country to still have a normal relationship with Russia, while also being a Western ally.

Just like with China, it’s difficult to establish the level of friendship between Russia and Turkey. On paper, they should be enemies and yet they are not. On the contrary, they support each other on many international dossiers.

Russia and Turkey are the two most powerful players in the Black Sea. Turkey’s position, however, is strategically crucial for Russia. Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city, sits on the Dardanelle Strait: the only open passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. What this means is that the only way Russia has to project power in the Mediterranean is with Turkey’s cooperation.

Turkey, however, is also a NATO member. The United States has active military bases in Turkey, and in fact these two have respectively the first and second biggest NATO armies.

For these reasons, Turkey has been the mediator between Russia and the West in the war. The agreement on grain shipments, for example, was signed by Russia and Ukraine with Turkish mediation.

And also for these reasons, Erdogan and Putin can have normal phone calls and discussions, which is what happened this Monday.

What did Putin and Erdogan say to each other

The two presidents mainly talked about the situation in Ukraine, concerning both the war on the ground and the energy crisis. Russia reiterated the dangers Ukraine poses to world peace, blaming the West for continuing hostilities.

Vladimir Putin drew attention to the destructive line of the Kyiv regime, which relies on the intensification of hostilities with the support of Western sponsors,” the Kremlin stated. Strangely enough, it seems they have not talked about Iranian and North Korean support for the Russian war effort…

But most importantly, Putin and Erdogan talked about gas. Specifically, the Kremlin revealed that it is Putin’s intention to make Turkey a southern hub for gas. Now that the European market is definitely closed for Putin, he needs to sell Russian oil and gas somewhere else.

Turkey sits on the crossroads between Russia, the Middle East and Europe. With enough effort, Turkey could seriously become a new hub for gas. To get gas from sources that do not pass through Turkey it would take time and money, things that Europe doesn’t have at the moment.

At the same time, however, Europe already showed with the price cap on Russian oil that they do not intend to be blackmailed.

In fact, the price cap applies on third party sellers of Russian oil as well. If the EU manages to fix a similar price cap for gas as well, Turkey would have its dreams shattered.

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