Taps and alliances in an era of hard pipeline diplomacy

Amid growing turmoil over energy issues in the Eastern Mediterranean, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the TurkStream pipeline in Istanbul earlier this month.

The operation of TurkStream, which will carry Russian natural gas to Central Europe through Turkey, will go some way toward fulfilling Moscow's goal of reducing gas transit via Ukraine. With the pipeline starting in Novorossiysk, crossing the Black Sea and ending at Kiyikoy in northwestern Turkey, Russia achieves its aim of bypassing Ukraine - with which relations have long been troubled - while Turkey gets to reinforce its role as the controller of the pipeline taps that bring gas to the West.
The pipeline is seen supplying the Turkish market and branching out through Bulgaria and Serbia to send gas to Central Europe. That is why the leaders of the two...

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