Why Russia interested in Turkey from energy point of view

At the end of last week, following the high-level meeting of the Cooperation Council under the chairmanship of the Presidents of Russia and Turkey, several important documents were signed, including the mid-term trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation programme for 2017–2020, as well as an agreement between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Turkish Sovereign Fund to establish a Russian-Turkish investment fund.

The two sides agreed that they have been able to establish strategic cooperation in the energy sector: Turkey is Russia’s second largest natural gas importer. Last month, the intergovernmental agreement on the major project to build the Turkish Stream gas pipeline network came into force, the implementation of which will help to increase natural gas supplies to Turkey and develop its transit potential. Rosatom is designing the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, the first nuclear power facility in Turkey. Russia's Power Machines company is involved in upgrading Turkey’s hydropower infrastructure. There are also prospects for expanding cooperation in the metals industry, car manufacturing, production of agricultural produce and machinery.

Deputy Science Director of the RAS Institute of Energy Research, an expert of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Vladimir Likhachev, is convinced that Russia's interaction with Turkey in the energy sector should be systemic and complex: "Political, technological, economic and social issues are intertwined around the energy sector. They should be solved carefully, considering the fact that each of these aspects affects the other. Russia and Turkey are equal partners in the energy negotiations platform. Each of the parties has its own strengths, trump cards, which they use during negotiations. Turkey is the country with the highest energy consumption growth among the countries of the European region. It immediately attracts Russia's attention as a major supplier of energy resources to this region."

Vladimir Likhachev drew attention to the fact that Turkey, developing its energy policy, is a classic example of a country that diversifies its energy security: "First, it is a diversification of the domestic energy balance, for example, oil, gas and coal account for about 30% of the country's consolidated energy balance, and other needs are met through renewable energy sources. Second, Turkey has set itself the task of diversifying imports of energy resources. In addition to Russia, Turkey receives energy resources from Azerbaijan, has the opportunity to receive oil and gas from Iran, establishing ties with Iraq and negotiating with Israel."

According to the expert, Turkey ranks first in terms of the growing development of renewable energy sources, ensuring its energy security: "The country has a huge potential in energy efficiency. Turkish specialists are taking very active measures to implement it. Turkey in interesting for Russia as a developing energy market and as a country that can ensure the transit of Russian energy to the European market."

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