Recent developments in natural gas endeavors may lead Turkey into dangerous waters. On one end, the often described ‘biggest global discovery in 2020,’ Sakarya gas field in the Black Sea represent a dash of hope for the future development of Turkey’s natural gas diversification strategy that would lead to less reliance on imported natural gas. On the other end, Turkey’s exploratory and drilling activities caused numerous tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean which erupted upon the signing of the maritime agreement with Libya. The current situation calls upon several questions. Will Turkey be able to effectively use the Sakarya gas fields and if so, what would be the consequences in international relations towards the European Union and the Russian Federation? Will the Turkey-Libya maritime agreement stand strong despite the heavy pressure from the European Union and despite the possibility to cause further destabilization in the region? The answers to these questions lay in Turkey’s gas ambitions.
The aim of this policy paper is to delve into the complex natural gas network in Turkey founded under the pretext of a diversification strategy and examine its consequences in international relations. Following the current energy conflict in the East Mediterranean which threatens to destabilize the region, this policy paper focuses on the ever-fragile relations between Turkey and the European Union in their endeavor to diversify natural gas imports from Russia.
Policy Paper – Mihajlo Jakovljev, October 2020
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