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Who wins and loses from TurkStream – SKAI (


Tayyip Erdogan opened Turkey's TurkStream gas pipeline on Monday, along with Vladimir Putin, at a grand ceremony in Istanbul. Huge business that changes geopolitical data. But why?

Source DW: Michael Martin / Dimitra Kyranoudi

21/11/2018 – 07:21

Last update:
21/11/2018 – 07:21


On Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan opened Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin's naval department for the long-awaited TurkStream gas pipeline. This pipeline, which unites Russia with Turkey, is considered to be the culmination of "comprehensive, multilateral bilateral co-operation," as T. Erdogan said.

According to the Turkish presidency, TurkStream will be ready to be operational in 2019 after the completion of the necessary checks. On the other hand, the Russian president said the new gas pipeline would be made by Turkey as the "main European energy hub", and emphasizing its link with Moscow "will undoubtedly affect the geopolitical position of the Republic of Turkey". One interesting fact, however, is that Turkish and Russian energy cooperation for TurkStream comes three years after the Russian war destroyed the Turkish fighter on the Syrian border, causing a deep break between the two countries.

TurkStream Tourstream

What is TurkStream and why is it necessary?

TurkStream is a natural gas pipeline of 910 kilometers stretching beneath the Black Sea and energetically connecting Russia and Turkey. Total, two "double pipelines" that make TurkStream have a maximum capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The first part of the gas pipeline will direct Russian gas to Turkey, while the second is part of southern Europe. When it officially begins to work in late 2019, the Russian energy giant Gazprom will supply Turkey with gas, which is the second largest US country in Russia after Germany.

Turkey is heavily dependent on imports of natural gas from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, as domestic production accounts for only 2% of the demand. Currently, BlueStream gas pipeline is the one that transportes the largest amount of natural gas from Russia to Turkey while the rest comes to Turkey via a second gas pipeline that passes through Ukraine and other eastern European countries. Imported gas accounts for almost one third of Turkey's total energy needs. Turkey is the only country in the region that has such an increased gas demand since the outbreak of the international financial crisis in 2008/2009. Last year, only natural gas consumption reached a historic record of 53.5 billion cubic meters, an increase of 20% over the previous year. Many analysts also predict that Russia's gas demand will rise in Turkey in the coming years.


Controversial gas pipeline

And EU countries are heavily dependent on Russian gas that has recently reached Ukraine. In the beginning of the new millennium Russia has cut off natural gas delivery through Ukraine for the second month due to the winter months. Russia-Ukraine bilateral relations have also entered a deep crisis since 2014, following the accession of Crimea to Russia and Moscow's support to Ukrainian separatists in eastern Ukraine. TurkStream, along with the northeast, and another pipeline under the Baltic, allows Russia to channel natural gas to Europe without involving Ukraine. The Kiev government, however, estimates that the country will lose billions of those moves.

Meanwhile, Russia plans to build another pipeline NordStream2, and many countries accuse Russia of using pipelines to leverage political influence. Finally, Russia plans to expand TurkStream in the future through Bulgaria and Serbia to Greece and Italy. Works on construction of the second overhead section of the pipeline are expected to start in 2019.

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