Putin and Erdogan meet to discuss TurkStream pipeline

Putin and Erdogan meet to discuss TurkStream pipeline

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Istanbul today to mark the completion of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section.

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Photo: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Istanbul today to mark the completion of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section.

Turkey’s deteriorating relationship with the US has pushed the its interests more in-line with Moscow’s, solidifying both country’s commitments to the project’s completion. The pipeline stretches nearly 910 kilometres underneath the Black Sea, with an estimated carrying capacity of 31.5 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

Plans have been drawn up to extend TurkStream beyond Turkey to Austria, either through the Balkan states, or through Greece and Italy. Regardless of its path, the expansion hinges upon European guarantees after tensions with Russia led to the abandonment of a similar project.

The second leg of TurkStream into Europe benefits all parties. Russia stands to gain economically, southern Europe will obtain cheaper access to oil, and Turkey will become an energy hub, increasing its importance to Europe. However, the monetary benefits of the pipeline will likely compromise the interests of Washington and Brussels, which are imposing economic pressures on Moscow. Indeed, the West’s options are limited, save opposing the project within the EU, and even then could see questionable success.

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