For the third time in three months, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Istanbul.
The result of this meeting is a Gas Pipeline Deal that bypasses Ukraine.
Russia and Turkey have put tensions over Syria behind them to agree a gas pipeline deal which would open a new route for Russian energy to western Europe.
The TurkStream agreement between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Monday would, if implemented, redraw the energy map of Europe by allowing Russia to bypass some of its gas around Ukraine.
It would also strengthen ties between Moscow and Ankara at a time of growing mistrust between Turkey and the west in the wake of the coup attempt that plunged the country into turmoil three months ago and killed 270 people.
Monday’s agreement committed the pair to construction of two lines of pipes beneath Turkish waters on the bed of the Black Sea, with a combined capacity of 30bn cubic metres of gas. One would serve the Turkish market and the other the rest of Europe.
TurkStream, to be operated by Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas monopoly, was proposed by Mr Putin two years ago as a replacement for the abandoned South Stream pipeline which had involved co-operation between Russia and several EU countries.
Talks faltered after the crisis triggered by the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 war plane by Turkish forces over the Syrian border in November 2015. But relations have thawed rapidly since June when Mr Erdogan voiced regret for the downing of the Russian jet.
Since then, Turkey has railed against Washington’s refusal to immediately extradite Fethullah Gulen, the exiled Islamic cleric accused of masterminding the coup plot, a claim he strongly denies. It has also been riled by western warnings about the scale of the post-putsch crackdown that has seen more than 100,000 people sacked or dismissed from their jobs.
Despite their detente, Mr Putin and Mr Erdogan remain deeply at odds over Syria. Though Turkey has softened its previous demand for the immediate departure of President Bashar al-Assad, it remains a key supporter of rebel forces that are battling the Syrian armed forces and their allies, while Russia is one of the Syrian president’s staunchest allies.
The curious thing about this agreement is that it came within a few minutes of someone sending me a link to Silence of the Lambs-Refugees, EU and Syrian Energy Wars.
That article asserts the entire thesis of the war against Assad is an alleged gas pipeline from Qatar, through Syria, to Europe.
The article makes a nice case, but it is 100% conspiratorial every step of the way.
Conspiracies happen of course, but when one has to tie German CDU Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble; German Development Minister, Gerd Mueller; Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman; Dick Cheney; Angela Merkel; Joe Biden; Paul Wolfowitz; and a half dozen others in on a massive scheme, I have to step back and question whether or not there is a simpler explanation (such as stupidity), that nicely ties everything together.
That said, the Project for a New American Century, involving many names in the above list was very real.
“Of the twenty-five people who signed the PNAC’s founding statement of principles, ten went on to serve in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. Observers such as Irwin Stelzer and Dave Grondin have suggested that the PNAC played a key role in shaping the foreign policy of the Bush Administration, particularly in building support for the Iraq War.”
Mike “Mish” Shedlock