This might be a turning point of an energy transportation policy with Russia preferring to send gas directly to China, without having to deal with Ukraine and other EU countries. However, the Chinese have yet to sign the agreement offered by Putin, finding it too binding. Nonetheless, Putin seems to play the Chinese card against Europe. Whether this strategy is rational and implementable is open to discussion, but Putin's will to side with the Shanghai Cooperation Association countries against the U.S. and the EU looks obvious.
That will not be very pleasant for some EU countries, starting with Germany, whose energy requirements are partly met by the gas pipelines from Russia. Chancellor Merkel has already asked the U.S. whether they would be willing to export some of the shale gas they plan to produce in the coming decades. That will certainly not be enough for Germany's needs, therefore the southern junction of Europe with the Caspian gas has to be established through Turkey, preferably not trespassing in any Russian territory. This is the name of the big game that is going to be staged for the next decade. Putin is not going to shift his strategy to divert Russia's main commerce from Germany to China, however, China will be, for the first time ever, in a position of force vis-à-vis the Russians. This will be a difficult strategy for every country in the region, but Turkey will have to play a key role during the energy route structuring in coming years.
Israel is on the verge of becoming an energy exporting center, when the underground gas reserves under the Mediterranean will become functional. This will require both Cyprus and Turkey getting connected through a web of pipelines, to transport Israeli gas to Europe, underneath the sea through land via Turkey and through shipping in tankers with the help of a condensation factory to be built in Cyprus.
To do so, Israel and Turkey need to normalise their relations and Cyprus needs be re-united under the U.N. auspices, and nothing less. On the other hand, Iraq is going steadily but surely to a kind of partitioning, at best towards a loose confederation. The infrastructure to convey Iraqi gas to Europe is already mostly in place. Iran is also eyeing towards Turkish infrastructure of gas pipelines in order to export its own gas in the future.
Will Putin want this system to be established without trying to sabotage or at least delay it? Probably not… Will the U.S. want to make Putin pay for his deeds in Ukraine by heavily arming the Syrian Free Army and overthrowing Putin's protégé Assad? That sounds more and more possible.
Is the Turkish intelligentsia and political elite in tune with the challenges of our time? Nothing is less obvious. Turkey, regarding the domestic political struggle and debate, has remained an inward looking Third World country, where the main debate focuses on whether or not the Prime Minister be respected and should remain in the post. The main issue of Turkey's polarisation stems from the fact that there has been no viable alternative to the AK Party for the last 12 years, and there seems no real alternative emerging in the foreseeable future. The desperation of a minority in the society is due to the absence of a structured strong opposition who can come up with a plausible political alternative. In the meantime, Turkey cannot have the luxury of devoting all its time to sterile internal disputes, but this is exactly what is happening.
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