The tension with Russia, escalated and dragged on by Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin, has led to a new direction in Turkey's energy policies. The Russian crisis will determine Turkey's energy road map in the near term.
In the aftermath of this crisis, it was decided to finish the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), whose foundation was laid in 2015, early. When Turkey's demands were not met, the Turkish Flow was shelved. As an alternative to gas cuts that may take place shortly, increasing LNG imports, building new LNG stations, and completing a gas storage station currently under construction, headlined the energy agenda.
In other words, the Russian crisis was an awakening to complete delayed or incomplete energy projects, and most importantly to decrease dependency on Russia's energy and provide a variety of energy sources.
RUSSIA NOT THE SOLE ADDRESS FOR ENERGY
Russia has for many years used its power in energy, particularly in the political platform, as a threat. It did not hesitate to use the energy in its possession in many incidents, such as when playing the natural gas card to EU countries in the crisis with Ukraine, cancelling the Southern Flow and turning to the Turkish flow and the annexation of Crimea.
EU countries' search for alternatives following the Ukraine crisis was a result of their distrust in Russian energy.
The debate on whether natural gas will continue to come after Turkey's justified response to Russia, is proof that Russia is not a reliable country in terms of energy. No country would like to worry about whether energy will be cut by a country with which it has an energy agreement, at the slightest disagreement.
Most importantly, the number of countries providing natural gas is increasing. Hence, now it will be the supply side of natural gas sources that competes rather than the demand side. So in this period, it becomes more important to know how and from where this natural gas will be transferred to international markets and to whom it will be sold, rather than having the gas. Hence, it is difficult for countries like Russia to exist and continue its presence in these markets.
TURKEY, THE INDISPENSIBLE COMPONENT OF THE ENERGY EQUATION
Despite not having energy resources, Turkey is now, because of its location, an arbiter country. While Turkey becomes the center of large-scale energy projects, it is taking steps with new agreements and country partnerships to provide variety in energy.
Turkey is a key player in energy because of the Southern Gas Corridor, which provides energy supply security for both Turkey and the EU. As a result of this corridor, gas producers have to be in Turkey, the most economical and strategic country for natural gas transfer.
The LNG agreement with Qatar, the agreement to complete the TANAP project before the expected date in collaboration with Azerbaijan and works continuing with new player Turkmenistan, are all factors that will strengthen Turkey's central role in the upcoming period and increase the number of alternatives to Russian natural gas.
The most recent development in the search for an alternative in energy is the offer Israel made to Turkey. For Israel, which wants to transport the natural gas it found in Tamar and Leviathan in the Eastern Mediterranean to the EU, Turkey is in a key position. Turkey, as a result of its geopolitical position, is on the most cost-effective route to providing natural gas transmission. Its political economic stability also make it a central country in energy.
Despite the reduced ties between them due to its oppression of Gaza and the Mavi Marmara raid, Israel is offering to provide energy to Turkey. This offer alone is a declaration of Turkey's power in regional energy and shows that it is a key player in the field.
Turkey is the country to which many other players are applying to be included in the energy equation. This shows that Turkey is the fixed variable.
It is clear that Russia is not the sole address for energy. The Mediterranean love of Russia, which is starting to sense the threat of losing its quality as the sole address, is the result of energy.
What is the reason for Russia's presence in the Mediterranean despite its energy wealth, if not its desire to be included in the reconfiguring energy equation?