After the Russian jet was downed last November, the relations between Turkey and Russia were suspended. Afterwards, the political tension became reflected on the economic relations. At the end of the 9-month passage, the period of repairing relations is beginning.
From this aspect, it is imperative that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's first international visit would be paid to Russia. In reaction to Russia not hesitating to be with Turkey during the coup attempt on July 15, for the countries which remained silent against the coup attempt, particularly the U.S. and the EU, this visit is imperative as well.
Namely, as the visit seems to be between two countries, there are invisible parties at the table: the U.S. and the EU.
Will the “full speed” relations with Russia break Turkey's relations with the U.S. and EU?
In Erdoğan's visit to Russia, there are the signs of the route Turkey will follow in the international arena after the July 15 coup attempt.
Turkey again realized its power, saw its density in the region and saw that it would develop an equal level cooperation in the region with the powerful country in the region, Russia.
Because of the incomprehensible and hypocritical attitude the western countries showed after the July 15 coup attempt, he gave the message that Turkey will not have that difficulty to develop alternates in the region.
The visit has also been giving signaling that Turkey's is among the big actors in the Middle East and Caucasus with Russia and will change the global power distribution that will be newly formed.
Due to the crisis the EU and the U.S. have been experiencing in recent years, the global economic power balance has been shifting to the region around Turkey. Therefore, Turkey will write new stories in the world economy. The new cooperation and integration it will develop with the rising economies of Russia and China is a beginning of the acceleration of the change of the global power balance in our favor.
Of course, the picture that President Erdoğan and Russian President Putin presented in St. Petersburg and the cooperation topics they presented one after another have deeply shaken the western countries.
The EU and the U.S., which have problems with Russia and did not stand with Turkey during the July 15 coup attempt, showed that among this quadruplet different scenarios will develop.
The large energy projects are starting again
The crucial topic of these scenarios is energy. One of the first steps to be taken in putting Turkish-Russian relations back on track is energy, of course, and the energy projects. If we remember, in the process after the jet crisis I said that Turkey and Russia did not have the luxury to quit on each other.
As I also wrote several times in this column, Turkey needs energy and namely has an energy dependency on Russia, in the same way the Russian economy needs to sell its natural gas. Namely, the dependency in the energy supply and the dependency in energy demand match each other.
The role of Turkey here is not only limited with being only a natural gas customer. Turkey presents a safe and cost effective destination for Russia in order to reach the global markets.
Russia's reaching the Turkish market and reaching the EU market via Turkey is only and only possible thanks to the cooperation it will have with Turkey.
That's why energy is the catapult for the two countries' relations; at the same time it is the nightmare of the EU countries. The process, namely the recovery of Turkey and Russia relations, gives the signal that the EU is going to live the energy nightmare a while longer. Russia wants to reach the natural gas markets before its competitors have a word to say in the region and wants the natural gas dependency of the EU to continue.
And Turkey both wants to provide its own energy supply safely and take advantage of its geopolitical position, which it could not make use of for years.
With this purpose, the decision to start the Turkish Stream project will both increase Turkey's regional power as the energy center and become a means for the other natural gas producers to bring new projects to Turkey's agenda.
Well, what will be the attitude of the U.S. and EU against the two strong countries in the region making an effort to improve relations compared to the relations before November? The answer to this question will show how and in what way the game will continue.