With Russia again a year later - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

With Russia again a year later

The crisis that started with the downing of the Russian jet last year is finally reaching a solution a year later. It reached an end with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım's Russia visit.

The essential energy matter that has immunity as well as regional dynamics has been effective in such a quick resolve of the crisis between Turkey and Russia.

On another note, while the EU kept quiet after the July 15 coup attempt and used this as an excuse to stop negotiations with Turkey – and of course the Syria issue – this had effects on the two powerful countries of the region, Turkey and Russia, changing their politics.

This issue, meaning the solution of the problem between the two countries, will be beneficial for both countries.

The importance of energy

The jet crisis was one of the worst crises that could have happened between the two countries. Despite the sanctions that came from Russia following the downing of the jet, there were no changes in energy, which happens to be the biggest trade partnership between the two countries. Because, as in the past, the energy issue is protected with an immunity shield for both countries.

The seamlessly ongoing cooperation in energy makes it clear that energy is the fault line for both countries.

Turkey, to which Russia has always sold natural gas, is also important in terms of reaching other markets. Turkey's importance further increased with the increased negative attitude of EU countries toward Russia due to Ukraine. Hence, when Ukraine was bypassed by Russia, Turkey was the country that came to the forefront.

Besides, many regional countries that have natural resources are bound to be dependent on Turkey to reach international markets because of Turkey's geographical positioning. Turkey not having an alternative in this sense, has made it more important.

Thus, the possibility of new projects planned with other natural gas providers like the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), will ensure that Russia does not take an irrational decision to stand against Turkey.

As for Turkey, Russia is important for political issues besides being important for energy. Fifty-six percent of the gas that is imported is imported from Russia. Moreover, Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Mersin Akkuyu is going to be completed by the Russians.

Meanwhile, the fact that the agreement concerning the commencement of the project, which is going to be one of the biggest projects in the area of energy, was signed in this period, has the potential to change many political and economic balances in the region.

Turkey always has the potential to develop cooperation

This positive period that has developed between Turkey and Russia, the trade agreements, Turkey continuing from where it had left things off in terms of energy projects, local currencies being used in trade between the two countries, and the trade requests between the two countries, will all have positive effects on Turkey breaking the current economic siege it is experiencing.

Using local currencies for trade is also a good example for neighboring countries.

Conducting trade using local currencies with other regional countries – besides Russia – including China and Iran, will hopefully lead to the decrease of dependency on foreign currencies, and thus lead to doing problem-free trade, which means that a new period with new cooperation might be around the corner.

In a period in which the world economic balance has changed, we might be expecting new developments, new starts, new companies and even new finance systems.

Besides, countries like Turkey will be able to break the siege they are locked in, and even become the determinant actors in deciding which way the new power balance will move toward.


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