In the past two days, Turkey had done three things. First, she opened a pipeline with Russia going through Turkey by passing under the Black Sea and around Ukraine, known as TurkStream:
Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the Turkish city of Istanbul to mark the completion of the offshore part of TurkStream, a major pipeline project under the Black Sea.
Once ready, it will transport natural gas from Russia to Europe through Turkey, but will bypass Ukraine. (source, source)
The second pipeline comes with the connection of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, shipping gas from Turkey into the Balkans through Greece and then under the Adriatic Sea to Italy:
The Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which is the largest component of the Southern Gas Corridor, has been connected to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) on the banks of the Merich River on the Turkish-Greek border, Turkish media outlets reported.
A connection of two gas pipelines was an important step towards the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project, as reported by the TANAP and TAP consortia.
Azerbaijani gas from the second stage of development of the Shah Deniz field will be pumped to Europe, according to TAP.
The welding of TANAP and TAP pipes was supervised by representatives of two consortia.
The total length of TANAP is 1,850 kilometers. TANAP originates in the village of Turkgozu in the province of Ardahan, in the border zone between Turkey and Georgia, crosses 20 Turkish provinces and 67 settlements and stretches to Ipsala in the province of Edirne, where it is connected to TAP.
The initial capacity of the TANAP pipeline is expected to be 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. About six billion cubic meters of gas will be supplied to Turkey, and the rest to Europe. The project’s shareholders are Southern Gas Corridor CJSC (51 percent), STEAŞ (7 percent), BOTAŞ (30 percent), BP (12 percent).
TANAP, also called the “Energy Silk Road”, was a historic step towards turning Turkey into an energy hub.
TANAP and TAP are the parts of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is intended to deliver gas from the Azerbaijani gas condensate field Shah Deniz to Europe.
On May 29, Baku hosted the launch ceremony of the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor project, and on June 12, the opening ceremony of TANAP pipeline was held in the Turkish province of Eskisehir with the participation of the presidents of Azerbaijan – Ilham Aliyev, Turkey – Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukraine – Petro Poroshenko and Serbia – Alexander Vucic.
TANAP shareholders are Southern Gas Corridor CJSC (51 percent), STEAŞ (7 percent), BOTAŞ (30 percent), BP (12 percent).
TAP, along with TANAP, is a part of Southern Gas Corridor project. The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijani Shah Deniz-2 gas field to Greece and southern Italy across the Adriatic Sea through Greece and Albania, and involves designing, construction and operation of the natural gas pipeline.
The Intergovernmental Agreement on the TAP project was signed by Albania, Italy and Greece in February 2013. The cost of the project is 4.5 billion euros.
The TAP project is one of the strategic objectives of the EU in the energy security and diversification of energy sources, chosen as the shortest and direct way to export natural gas from Azerbaijan to the European markets.
Construction of nearly 74.6 percent of the 878 km pipeline has been completed, of which 550 kilometers will pass through the northern part of Greece, 215 kilometers – Albania, 105 kilometers – the Adriatic Sea and 8 kilometers – Italy. The TAP pipeline is expected to be commissioned in 2020. The initial capacity of TAP will be 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year with the possibility of doubling it.
TAP shareholders include BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagas (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent). (source, source)
One can see a picture of the two united pipelines below:
Finally, Turkey held a meeting with her historical ally Azerbaijan and as well with Georgia, a nation that while historically not a Turkish ally has now been made one due to Georgia’s association with NATO, and in the meeting the three nations agreed to “eliminate regional threats” through joint military cooperation:
Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia should join efforts to eliminate threats and problems emerging in the region, chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vladimer Chachibaia said Nov. 21 in Baku.
He was speaking at a press conference following his meetings in Baku with Azerbaijani defense minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov and chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, Army General Yashar Guler.
“Our trilateral cooperation is very important,” he said. “It means stability in the region. We will actively participate in joint exercises that are particularly important in the exchange of experience between our military personnel. At the same time, we will cooperate in educational and sports fields.”
He added that Azerbaijan and Turkey always supported the territorial integrity of Georgia.
“We remember that Azerbaijan and Turkey were always with Georgia when it faced a crisis,” he said.
Azerbaijani defense minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov held a meeting on Nov. 21 in Baku with chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, Army General Yashar Guler and chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vladimer Chachibaia.
At the meeting, the sides discussed issues of developing cooperation in a trilateral format, regional stability, including ensuring the security of projects being implemented in the region, and a number of other issues. (source, source)
Most past imperial nations desire in some way to re-acquire their former empires. Turkey is no different, for less than a century ago she was the Ottoman Empire and for centuries controlled either by direct rule or vassalage most of the Middle East, North Africa, parts of sub-saharan Africa, parts of the Balkan Peninsula, and parts of the Hindu Subcontinent. Turkish President Erdogan has made clear that he wants to revive Turkey’s Ottoman past and he sees himself as a contemporary sultan lacking only the official title before his name.
Power historically comes from controlling critical resources that others need. Turkey already has an advantage as she is one of two land gateways between Europe and Asia. Since the world’s economies and the businesses who produce the goods to run said economies and governments all operate on oil, and given how the Middle East is a source of much oil (as well as Turkey herself) and Turkey’s location, she has with the help of the Americans and the Germans been able to leverage herself to a position of power by serving as the main oil transportation hub to Europe after Russia, and given the anti-Russian position of NATO, Turkey is liable to be come the primary hub of oil to Europe.
I noted two pipelines in question, and this is important because it is not just one pipeline that is coming from Turkey into Europe, but rather it is an overlapping network, a virtual spider web of pipelines that cross and interchange with each other. This is critical because it is a part of a long-term strategy to defeat Russia by NATO through the creation of the region around the Black and Caspian Seas, which includes not only Turkey by the entire Caucasus region to the oil-sands of Baku and the entire oil-rich Turanian Basis into an interlocked series of pipelines so connected that it will be both as difficult to annihilate as it will be impossible to destroy without suffering potentially fatal blowback from attempting to destroy a part of it.
Turkey and Germany are historical allies, and such an interlocking network of gas pipelines is critical to the success of both nations in a future war against their mutual enemy, Russia. If a war starts involving Russia, one of the first moves that Russia will do is to shut off gas access to Europe. The Turkish pipelines will keep these lines open, and this is not considered as far as the common people, but rather for the factories and businesses who need fuel to produce munitions of war and other war goods. This was the problem of Germany in both World War I and World War II, where she either did not secure or failed to aptly secure the Baku oil fields around the Caspian Sea and in order to continue her war, was forced into a head-on bloody conflict with Russia, first in Ukraine and second at Stalingrad, where she lost both times. To secure oil field access before a conflict begins is an absolute prerequisite for Germany because she does not want to be forced into a highly difficult fight against the Russians directly in the future.
The military alliances between Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan is a confirmation of the expansion of NATO influence in the region. Given the expansion of European-oriented pipelines, it is likely that aid “regional threats” were not speaking about Iran, but about the mutual enemy they have with Russia.
Since it is known that Turkey and her western allies are promoting pan-Turanism in Central Asia as a part of stirring up anti-Russian sentiments, it is interesting to note that at the same time this meeting took place, Russia also had a security meeting with Kyrgyzstan, her closest ally in Central Asia who she has worked with since the Batkensky conflict against pan-Islamist movements.
One should watch Turkey as she continues to expand her influence in the region because just as she has been moving troops into Syria and Iraq, she is attempting to “flex” her “muscle” in a legally acceptable way before the entire world.