Europe, Middle East, News Watch, Side Feature

The Transport of Turkmen Natural Gas to Europe via Turkey

On December 14, 2022, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkmenistan’s President Serdar Berdymukhamedov at the 1st Summit of Heads of State of Turkey-Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan held in the Avaza district of Turkmenistan. The Memorandum of Understanding on the Further Development of Cooperation in the Field of Energy was signed between the three countries for the transport of Turkmen gas to Turkey and Europe. News agencies.

Turkmenistan, which has the status of an observing member of the Organization of Turkic States, is among the world’s important gas suppliers. Turkmenistan has proven gas reserves of about 13.6 trillion cubic meters.

While Turkmenistan produced 79.3 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021, it used 36.7 billion cubic meters of this gas itself. The country exported 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas to China and 10.5 billion cubic meters to Russia. The country also exports gas to Iran.

According to the agreement signed between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the Turkmen natural gas is planned to be transported to Europe by connecting to the Southern Gas Corridor by pipelines through the Caspian Sea.

The aim of the Southern Gas Corridor is to increase and diversify European energy supply through the delivery of gas resources in the Caspian Sea to markets in Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor consists of the South Caucasus Pipeline, the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline. It is aimed to deliver the natural gas extracted from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea to Italy through Azerbaijan, Tbilisi, Turkey and Greece.

In Turkey, there are currently the Blue Stream and Turkish Stream natural gas pipelines carrying gas from Russia, the Iranian natural gas pipeline and the Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipelines carrying gas from Azerbaijan. In addition, the transport of the Turkmen natural gas and the natural gas in ‘Israel’s’ Leviathan field in the Mediterranean to Europe via Turkey is on the agenda.

Especially after the sanction decisions taken by the US and Europe against Russia in the Russian-Ukrainian war, a serious energy crisis has emerged in Europe and has not yet been solved.

With the Russian-Ukrainian war, the US aimed to weaken Russia, to reduce Russia’s position in the international field and to damage the Russia-China relations, and to increase Europe’s dependence by binding Europe, which is dependent on itself in terms of security, to itself in terms of energy.

In this context, the US wanted to turn Turkey into an energy base against Europe by supplying the natural gas that Europe needs through Turkey.

In order to compensate for the losses, it suffered economically by the Ukrainian war, Russia has brought up the issue of selling gas to Europe through Turkey and has even announced that they want to make Turkey a natural gas center that sets prices for energy.

As a result, the US has prevented Russia’s direct supply of natural gas to Europe, caused an energy crisis in Europe, and given room for Turkey to supply Europe’s gas needs and create dependency in this regard.

Along with the Russian natural gas that it prevented with the Ukrainian war, it wanted to bind Europe to itself in terms of energy through Turkey with the natural gas of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, so to speak, it hit many targets with one arrow.

In addition, by increasing Turkey’s influence over the Organization of Turkic States, the US aims to reduce Russian influence over the Organization of Turkic States and to increase its own influence, thus increasing its own influence in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, where Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are located.

The natural gas agreement between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan should be considered within this framework.

Remzi Özer – Wilayah Turkey