The New Great Game of Caspian energy in 2013–14: ‘Turk Stream’, Russia and Turkey

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Series Details Vol.18, No.1, February 2016, p37-55
Publication Date February 2016
ISSN 1944-8953
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Rerouting South Stream through Turkey, Russia is striking at Azerbaijan and at potential Central Asian gas exporters to Europe. Over the last couple of years, under Baku’s lead, Azerbaijan and Turkey have been working on bringing to fruition the so-called Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), which aims to bring Caspian-sourced gas through the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) to the Turco-Greek border and, from there, to South-eastern Europe via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and regional interconnectors. The goal of this paper is to examine Russia’s recent high-stakes game to threaten vital Azerbaijani interests, including the SGC, particularly developments since the cancellation of South Stream—or ‘Turk Stream’. ‘Turk Stream’ is likely to propel the Balkans and Ukraine into front-line states in a serious struggle between the European Union and Russia. Yet, the obstacles to ‘Turk Stream’ are considerable. It is by no means certain that Russia and Turkey can pursue antagonistic policies geopolitically and simultaneously maximize the benefits of their deepened energy relation and increased economic cooperation. And in its eagerness to become a gas hub, Turkey has severely limited the possibilities for Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Central Asian gas producers to break free of Moscow’s energy grip.

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