While the Trump Administration still thinks it can play enough games to derail the Nordstream 2 pipeline via sanctions and threats, the impotence of its position geopolitically was on display the other day as the final pipe of the first train of the Turkstream pipeline entered the waters of the Black Sea.
The pipe was sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who shared a public stage and held bilateral talks afterwards. I think it is important for everyone to watch the response to Putin’s speech in its entirety. Because it highlights just how far Russian/Turkish relations have come since the November 24th, 2015 incident where Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 over Syria.
When you contrast this event with the strained and uninspired interactions between Erdogan and President Trump you realize that the world is moving forward despite the seeming power of the United States to derail events.
And Turkey is the key player in the region, geographically, culturally and politically. Erdogan and Putin know this. And they also know that Turkey being the transit corridor of energy for Eastern Europe opens those countries up to economic and political power they haven’t enjoyed in a long time.
The first train of Turkstream will serve Turkey directly. Over the next couple of years the second train will be built which will serve as a jumping off point for bringing gas to Eastern and Southern Europe.
Countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Serbia and Slovakia are lining up for access to Turkstream’s energy. This, again, is in stark contrast to the insanely expensive Southern Transport Corridor (STC) pipeline set to bring one-third the amount of gas to Italy at five times the initial cost.
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