After Russia's annexation of Crimea, the sanctions intended by the U.S. and the EU to counter Russia's expansion policies, to be frank, did not make Putin even bat an eyelash. However, Putin made a statement which upended rapidly increasing gold prices the day after sanctions were announced and promptly eased tensions. He announced that Russian troops will withdraw from along the Ukraine borders. Simultaneously, many significant comments were made in Turkey, Georgia and Iran, which actually explained Russia's decision. Let me start with Turkey's Ministry of Energy. The ministry conducts work that will change not only Turkey but also the Middle East and even the Caucasian geography. That work includes steps that will change the current balance of the world.
The previous day, Turkey's Minister of Energy Taner Yıldız, who was in Georgia with Turkish President Abdullah Gül's, said, "I have met my dear colleague Kaladze in Tbilisi, Georgia. We evaluated what we have done in the energy sector up to now and what we will do in the future. Undoubtedly, Georgia is an extremely critical transition country in terms of electricity, natural gas and oil related to Azerbaijan and Georgia itself.It is a transition point for our natural gas pipeline of Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline alike. In this sense, we will maintain our cooperation over both natural gas and oil." Yıldız obviously was implying that Turkey is building energy and transit corridors to connect Azerbaijan and Georgia. It goes without saying that when you add the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway into this story, here is what comes in the picture: Turkey links the south, starting from the Western Caspian and Iran and the east starting from Turkmenistan with energy and transit passages.
Just when Yıldız was making this speech, Iran released a very critical explanation on the matter. Iran expressed its wish to join the southern energy corridor under the control of Turkey. Yıldız also said the export of petroleum from northern Iraq may begin soon. Turkey pays close attention to the interests of Iraqi people and the sensitivities of all political powers in Iraq and international rules of law, yet, without ignoring the interest of both its and Iraq's people at all.
On the other hand, we know that Turkey is striving for the privatization of northern Iraqi petroleum and for a structure including the Turkish public bank, Halkbank, to consolidate the whole commercial and financial cycle.
We have significant news to add on all those incidents: The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has made an agreement with Iran for two pipelines, one for oil and the other for natural gas. The natural gas will be conveyed from Iran to KRG and the petroleum from KRG to Iran. The project is financed by Iran. Now, let us read this news together with Iran's announcement on joining the Southern Energy Corridor under the control of Turkey.
Turkey has already allocated land for the construction of the pipeline, which will originate in Iran, pass through Anatolia in parallel with TANAP and reach Europe. If the pipelines are not built, then Turkey will be forced to purchase Azerbaijani gas from Iran. This means that Iran will need to work to see sanctions lifted and show it is not a threat to the West and its surrounding by connecting to the West across Turkey through energy and commercial corridors. This incident is a primary tendency that will change all the borders and balances in the area.
Let's come to the issue of Russia at this very point. Putin did not even care about EU and the U.S. sanctions. Yet, after Taner Yıldız made the statement about the abovementioned works, he began to declare that Russian troops will withdraw from along Ukraine's borders.
Currently, the only fear of Russia is that Iran comes into play with Turkey to rapidly build the Southern Energy Corridor, thus increasing the importance of Russia in energy and commercial corridors in Caucasia and the Middle East. Putin had to lower its guard upon recognizing all those factors.
Still, we have to combine those incidents with the news from the U.S. side. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen highlighted on Wednesday that they would not easily increase interest rates, implying the expansionary monetary policy will persist.
The U.S. monitors the EU and the large area including Turkey till Chinese borders and is aware of the economic incidents that will change borders up there.
The main reason for this is that, for recovery of the U.S., the area - apart from the developing Asia as well - should deepen in the direction of demand for both technology-dense goods and financial markets. In this sense, the Obama government is embracing a new strategy, in contrast to Republicans, that opens the nation states, leaves the regional initiative to them, opens the economies of them and deepens the markets instead of bringing oppressive nation states into the forefront and attaching them to itself.
The U.S. thinks that the EU can only recover from the crisis by expanding eastward in this manner. In this regard, the new expansion frame of the European Central Bank can only be successful if the EU recognizes the truth about Turkey and opens a new page together with Turkey.
Now, Turkey should convert those incidents which come at it rapidly and will make it a very serious power in the area to a path of development woven with permanent peace for both itself and the surrounding regional people. In this sense, a powerful president elected by Turkish people would be a remarkable opportunity. The presidential election process in Turkey and the contours of the election have become visible.
For the AK Party this is quite advantageous. This advantage is also one for the EU, not only Turkey, for the stability in the area and the quick elimination of the EU crisis. It should be noted that this incident and Turkey's new foreign policy up to now have played important
roles in Russia backing down.