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Russia-Turkey energy cooperation

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, May 20
The Prime Ministers of Turkey and Russia recently met in the Black Sea city of Sochi and signed a bilateral agreement on economic issues which presumably opens up further prospects for political cooperation as well. By 2008 trade turnover between the two countries had reached USD 34 Billion.

Various joint political projects were suggested after the meeting. Russian PM Vladimir Putin expressed the readiness of Moscow to participate in the construction of a nuclear power station in Turkey as well as other energy projects. The premiers also negotiated about the possible construction of Blue Stream Two and other energy issues of mutual interest.

Serious economic games are taking place in the Caspian and Black Sea regions. While the Turkish and Russian Prime Ministers were meeting, Kazakh President Nazarbaev signed a document on constructing the gas pipeline, a project agreed in 2007 by Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. During the Prague energy summit in May, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan refused to sign a document declaring they would take part in the NABUCCO project, whereas Turkey did sign it.

There are also some differences of opinion concerning Turkish-Armenian and Turkish-Azeri relations, which are dependent on Armenian-Azeri relations and have a significant impact on the Azeri natural gas supply to Turkey. Interestingly the NABUCCO project declaration was not signed by Ukraine either, this country being interested in developing the White Stream project which competes against Turkish transit interests. Therefore it is obvious that a big chess game is on the agenda of all countries, including the big players in the region such as Russia, Turkey and Iran, the main energy suppliers in the Caspian Basin and transit countries such as Georgia.

We have a saying in Georgia: in the fight between two camels the baby camel was damaged. Georgia needs to demonstrate significant diplomatic skills to avoid being damaged and instead gain some profit from the current situation.