Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Russian Reality Check on Turkey's Gas Hub Hopes

| January 2016

Introduction

On Nov 24, 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet after it veered into its airspace for 17 seconds. On December 13, a Russian ship fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea. Bilateral tensions, with overt military dimensions, have seemed to quickly replace the goodwill that characterized relations only a year ago. Over the past few weeks, experts and observers have debated whether this incident will jeopardize deep Turkish-Russian energy cooperation—and whether newfound tensions between Moscow and Ankara will thwart Turkey’s ambition to transform itself into an energy hub.

A closer look suggests grounds for both optimism and pessimism. Given the deep interests of both parties in continuing energy cooperation, and the mutual nature of the dependency, tensions over Syria are unlikely to adversely impact energy cooperation in a fundamental way. Turkey, however, is unlikely to realize its vision of an energy hub—not because of Russia, but because of a combination of domestic and other geopolitical factors.

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Skalamera, Morena. “The Russian Reality Check on Turkey's Gas Hub Hopes.” Policy Brief, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, January 2016.

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