Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus | Crisis Group
This report examines evolving Turkey-Russia relations. It looks beyond Syria, which dominates international coverage, focusing instead on the. Turkey's evolving relationship with Europe Western Europe and Russia filled the vacuum in the Balkans and, to some extent, in the Eastern. A new chapter in the history of Russian-Turkish relationships opened after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the time elapsed since the end of.
Generally, pro-Western attitudes and stances of Russia have continued till the earlyafter that time, the appointment of Primakov as the Foreign Minister leaded to a significant alteration towards the Eurasianism conception.
This orientation had been expressed again and strengthened amid the presidency of Vladimir Putin since the adoption of the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation.
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Currently, as one of the main priorities of the Russian Foreign Policy, Eurasianist orientation rather than Europeanistone has taken a dominant role in Russia considering that it needs to improve its relations ina Eurasian arena with its increasingly major partners like China, India, Iran, Turkeyand etc. In this cooperation, Russia sees Turkey as an important regional counterpart, due to their recent convergent interests in some political issues. Turkey is the second major importer of Russian gas.
Having seen from the practice within the political arena, currently, the relations of two parties with the EU is a bit complicated, and also strained many times due to the different political tensions, and perplexing situations.
At the same time, the Eurasianist attitudes of both Russia and Turkey once again show that they have convergent interests in any field rather than divergent ones that ignite even today, the geopolitical intrigue with its European partners. Therefore, it seems necessary to comprehend and then analyze their relations emerging from convergent interests. However, the changing political roles and attitudes give a much more place to scrutinize their relations.
Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus
As a result of these political changes in their positions towards Syrian crisis, leaded to the brokering the ceasefire agreement on 28 Decemberand in fact, the West, mainly the Obama Administration were marginalized on this issue and were not given a free place for the Administration to take its chief position on this ceasefire agreement.
It is very plausible that Russia, Turkey, and Iran brokered a ceasefire in the region, and undertook the major duties to fight against terrorism. Thus, although they demonstrated the different positions in Middle East problems, especially in the Syrian crisis, and even this crisis caused strained relations between them for some time.
However, both Russia and Turkey found a common ground in this issue also, and their collaboration remains supported by the significant economic and energy factors.
The reliable relations between them once again revealed that it is possible to reach a deal in common ground and deal with the opposing standpoints and other problems, which showed itself in the example of the Syrian crisis. On the contrary, Turkey and Russia are not able to find out their convergent interests with the EU.
Despite the souring relations due to the downing of Russian S warplane between Syrian-Turkish border on 24 Novemberthe two counterparts again found a common ground to deal with the problem.
The evolution of Turkish-Russian relations
Having strained relations of Turkey with the EU, forced Turkey to take a constructive approach toward Russia. During the phone talking, Erdogan added that he was eager to return the pre-crisis level of bilateral relations.
Turkish spokesman Ibrahim Kalin highlighted that Erdogan used the communication to call for Russia to take decisive steps and joint efforts to solve regional crises and fight against anti-terrorist cooperation.
He also added that both parties had agreed to take significant steps to enhance relations at a multi-track level. After the bloody coup attempt in Turkey, Erdogan did his first visit to Russia. Amid the meeting near St. Petersburg on 9 Augustthey reached an agreement on lifting the sanctions gradually imposed by Russia after it downed a Russian fighter jet in last November. The two also agreed to prompt-start huge energy projects, including a gas pipeline and a nuclear power plant.
It is needed to mention that the negotiations between Russia and Turkey on Turkish Stream also was suspended after the jet incident and St. Petersburg meeting paved a way to renegotiate on the energy project.
During the joint press conference following the meeting, Vladimir Putin in his answer concerning the future relations mentioned: The Petersburg meeting opened a new door towardsRussian-Turkish relations both in economic and energy field. Major steps were taken concerning the reigniting tourism cooperation and two major energy projects which are important for the development of both countries.
Key factors among the plans is a Turkish Stream pipeline connecting the two countries and a nuclear power plant that Russia has to build in Turkey that is priced at 18 billion euro altogether. The Peterburg meeting became the initial step toward the future Russian-Turkish relations not only in the economic but also in the energy sector.
As a result of this significant meeting, they reached a deal on medium-term agreement from the period of to At the same time, taking the requests of Turkish and Russian traders and businessmen, Turkey and Russia will do the exchange of Russian ruble and Turkish lira in their trade relations and will be able to use easily rubles and lira in the next phase of their economic cooperation.
Within the course of the meeting, they also agreed on several significant issues by signing the agreement composed of 12 key articles. The energy issue is the most significant part of the rapprochement between them. The main goals of 12 Articles are classified below.
The revival of Senior Joint Cooperation Council 7. Acceleration of Akkuyu nuclear energy project. Commencement of Charter Flights 8. Removal of prohibitions that restrict bilateral trade, including agricultural products 9. Enhancement of cooperation in the defense industry 4.
Thelifting of the ban on Turkish entrepreneurs Installment of Turkey-Russia-Azerbaijan tripartite summit mechanism 5. Taking steps in common in order to achieve fully regeneration of visa-free regime A line of friendship and trust between Ankara and Moscow 6. Giving Akkuyu strategic investment status. Acceleration of Turkish Stream project Upon the Petersburg rapprochement, the next significant meeting took place in Istanbul during the 23rd World Energy Congress between 9 and 14 October The Russian and Turkish leaders have voiced support for the construction of Turkish Stream pipeline which was suspended in the course of the tensions between the two countries.
Russia and Turkey’s Evolving Relationship
The Moscow meeting was largely hailed as a big success both in the Russian and Turkish Governments. According to the Moscow meeting, Turkey will set up an infrastructure to allow Russian National Payment system to be available in Turkey. The two leaders also agreed on the affordable gas prices in the first initiative of the pipeline project and Russia promised to reduce natural gas prices at the next delivery of gas supplies via the Turkish Stream.
This delivery will not be direct, but via Turkey as an energy transit country, natural gas will be shipped to Europe. During the World Energy Congress, Putin in his speech highlighted that Russia has been providing energy for the EU for the past 50 years and again would supply via new gas projects including Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream pipeline projects in a more secure and a convenient way. In general, what does really Turkish Stream promise both Russia and Turkey for the coming years?
What will be the consequences and future perspectives of Turkish Stream for these two countries? In order to answer these questions, first and foremost, it is necessarily needed to analyze the energy relations after the Istanbul Agreement took place on 10 October First of all, according to the IGA between Russia and Turkey, the construction of two lines of Turkish Stream accounting for 15,75 Bcm each from Russia across the Black Sea has to be started by the end of and be completed up to The first line is expected to supply gas to Turkey, while the other would connect the transit routes between Turkey and the EU to provide the EU with natural gas.
Both lines will have to be completed by December Pursuant to the agreement, Turkey will provide special tax exemptions for the marine section of pipeline including the import of vehicles, equipment, and other necessary materials are released from the payment duties in Russia and Turkey.
The Turkish side also removed the tax revenues on gas transportation. According to the Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Gazprom will construct and possess the offshore section of the pipeline. Turkey will build and own the first line of the land section for the delivery of gas to its territory. Due to the prolonged meeting, Erdogan arrived late — at 1 a.The Realignment of Turkish and Russian Relations
But despite the warm atmosphere between them and the smiles on their faces, there are several issues that are challenging bilateral ties, despite there being several issues that necessitate cooperation. Following Turkish objections, Moscow postponed a meeting on Syria that was scheduled to take place on Nov. The meeting was postponed, but whether those groups would attend is still unclear. In post-war Syria, Moscow wants to guarantee local collaborators, so it is pushing hard to include the Kurds in talks for its long-term goals: Countering Daesh, preventing Western dominance and preserving its military bases in Syria.
So the Kurdish issue seems to remain contested between Moscow and Ankara. Russia had been planning to launch a new initiative on the Syrian conflict during a two-day meeting in Astana on Nov. It would be better to wait until the end of the month to see how the meeting between Erdogan and Putin will reflect on the upcoming one on Syria.
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Turkey recently said the purchase had been completed, underscoring the contentious relationship between Ankara and the West. Turkey and Russia have not yet agreed on the technology transfer, yet the S issue was enough to raise eyebrows in the West.