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Energy in Turkey and Russia’s Roller-Coaster Relationship

Energy relations between Turkey and Russia provide an excellent example of how energy and politics interrelate in countries with a historically up-and-down relationship. Having started in the 1960s, the two countries’ energy relations gained a new dimension after 1991 with the intensification of pipeline politics. In the 2000s, energy relations gained impetus owing to the leadership of Erdoğan and Putin, and reached an apex with the establishment of a cooperation council in 2010. Since 2011, Turkey’s demands for gas price reduction and volume increase have dominated the agenda of the countries’ energy talks. While Turkish-Russian relations have remained on shaky ground lately, the signing of the Turkish Stream agreement in 2016 might be perceived as a positive step for closer energy relations.

Energy in Turkey and Russia s Roller-Coaster Relationship
Leaders and high representatives of the states participated in the 23rd World Energy Congress in İstanbul, October 10, 2016. AA PHOTO / KAYHAN ÖZER
 

Introduction

Energy relations between Turkey and Russia provide an excellent example of how energy and politics interrelate in countries with a historically up-and-down relationship. Located in a unique trans-continental geography, both Turkey and Russia have remained in between the East and West politically throughout their history. Even though they are not particularly defined as Western powers, both have tried to make reforms to adjust to western values. In the meantime, relations between Turkey and Russia have undeniably been bumpy. Historically, the two countries have fought at least 12 times; during the war of 1877-78, Russian troops managed to come as close as the capital of the Ottoman Empire prior to the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano.

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