War on the Rocks has an interesting piece on Turkey’s desire to become a natural gas transshipment hub feeding Europe and perhaps Russia. I think, though, that WOTR underplays the purpose of Turkey’s transshipment goal.
Recall the existing conflict between Turkey and Europe over immigration, economics, rule of law EU-style rather than as Recep Erdoğan does it, and a host of other excuses for Turkey to claim to be put upon.
Next, keep in mind that Turkey went to school on Russia’s use of its dominance in supplying natural gas to Ukraine and to central Europe and the fact that that dominating supply flowed almost exclusively through a pipeline running through Ukraine to Europe. Turkey also is observing with care the increase in Russian control of Europe’s natural gas supply that construction of Nord Stream 2 would produce and which would allow Russia to take Ukraine out of the equation altogether, thereby to directly…influence…Europe.
Awash in natural gas deliveries from highly diversified pool of suppliers, Turkey hopes to dominate the market by becoming a natural gas hub for Europe, particularly Southeast Europe, which is less connected to EU natural gas infrastructure and remains heavily dependent on Russia[.]
Now here is Turkey deliberately building an oversupply of natural gas transport so as to feed southern Europe. And…influence…it? WOTR put it too mildly, I think.
If Turkey becomes a hub through which a diverse set of suppliers sends its natural gas to Southeast and Southern Europe, the country stands not only to amass economic benefits…. It can also use the status of an energy hub to heighten its geopolitical weight in the region, vis-à-vis Russia and the European Union.
I submit that Russia is less a target than is the EU. After all, after the Turkish shootdown of a Russian fighter aircraft, there has been an enthusiastic rapprochement between those two nations.