Turkish-Russian relations: What will happen to mega projects, natural gas exports?

Published November 29th, 2015 - 08:00 GMT
Turkey's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu will be built in Mersin by the Russia's Rosatom for $22B. (Shutterstock)
Turkey's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu will be built in Mersin by the Russia's Rosatom for $22B. (Shutterstock)

Russia is unlikely to disregard its international agreements and stop natural gas flow to Turkey, after the its plane shotdown by Turkey on Tuesday, an expert with Ankara think-tank SETA argued.

Erdal Tanas Karagol, director of Economics at SETA, Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) said Russia is not expected to cut natural gas flow to Turkey despite the incident and claimed that it would be 'hara-kiri' for Russia to do so. Russia is unlikely to want another problem with a natural gas importing country similar to the various gas-related issues it had previously with Ukraine. Russia halted gas supplies to the country in 2006 and in 2014.

"I don't think mega projects or large scale energy infrastructure projects will be halted or paused," he added and said that this possibility is not beneficial for Russia's long-term energy policy. 

Karagol discussed mega projects between Turkey and Russia, and said that the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project which is currently under construction would go ahead. He also affirmed that the proposed Turkish Stream natural gas project still needs to be discussed and agreed by both parties. 

Turkey's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu will be built in the country's southern province of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom at a cost of $22 billion. It will have a life cycle of 60 years to produce about 35 billion kilowatt-hours per year.

The Russian-proposed Turkish Stream project was initially planned to carry 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkey's Thrace region to reach Greece and further deliver gas to Europe.

However, in October this year, Russia's Gazprom announced that the capacity would be decreased to almost half the original amount to 32 billion cubic meters per year.

On Tuesday, two Turkish F-16 fighter jets on an aerial patrol intercepted an unidentified warplane within engagement rules when it intruded into Turkish airspace on the Turkey-Syria border.

The intruding aircraft was warned about the violation 10 times within five minutes before it was shot down.

Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that its Russian SU-24 fighter jet had been shot down.

NATO confirmed the accuracy of the information that Turkey shared with it about the violation of the Russian warplane.

This was not the first time Russian fighter jets had violated Turkish airspace. In early October, Russian warplanes had breached Turkish airspace for which Russian officials apologized and pledged that no such incident would be repeated; Turkey had also renewed its warning to implement engagement rules, including military response against violations of Turkish airspace.

By Gülşen Çağatay


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