Long Sleeve Good Dance/Russia-Turkey cooperation to heat up ruble settlement of natural gas
2022-08-07: [Article Link] Figure: Russian President Putin (right) 5 talks with visiting Turkish President Erdoğan in Sochi.
[Main communiqué] Consolidated Associated Press, Russian News Agency, Al Jazeera: Russian President Putin 5 held talks with visiting Turkish President Erdoğan in Sochi, the second meeting of the two heads of State in 17 days. Turkey had previously facilitated a food transport agreement between Russia and Ukraine, and Putin expressed his gratitude to Erdoğan that day. Putin added that the European international community should thank Turkey for the uninterrupted flow of gas from Russia. The two heads of state agreed to use the ruble to settle part of the Russian-to-terrestrial gas supply. The analysis refers to Turkey’s continuing “deep balance” role in the Russian-Ukraine conflict, which helped to raise Erdoğan’s profile on the international stage. This was a follow-up to the meeting between Putin and Erdoğan last month in Tehran, the capital of Iran, at which the two heads of State pledged to strengthen Russian-Turkish economic and trade relations for more than four hours, addressing the issues of food transport, gas supply, Syria, etc. in the Black Sea, saying that “good-faith, frank and trust relations are essential for regional and global stability.” On its way home, Erdoğan 6 revealed that Turkey and Russia had signed the “road map” for economic cooperation, with the intention of raising the volume of trade to $100 billion (approximately 780 billion Hong Kong dollars). Putin is grateful for the food deal.
Turkey's recent active good offices on food exports from the Black Sea led to a food shipment agreement between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey and the United Nations on 22 July. The first food tanker from Ukraine, after completing its inspection in Istanbul on 3 August, headed for Lebanon, and the second batch of three food tankers, carrying 58,000 tons of maize, left the port on 5 days. Putin expressed his gratitude to Erdoğan for his active role in resolving the problem of the movement of food from the Black Sea port in Ukraine and the supply of Russian food and fertilizer to world markets. Analysis suggests that the resumption of the agreement between Ukraine and Russia on the export of agricultural products offers the possibility of alleviating the global food crisis, enhances Erdoğan's international credibility and strengthens Turkey's status as a “good officesman” between Russia and Ukraine. Turkey imports 70% of wheat and 45% of energy from Russia. Russian-Turkish trade doubled in the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year. Putin praised Russian-Turkish energy cooperation that day, calling the “Turkish Creek” gas pipeline one of the most important arteries supplying Russian gas to Europe at the moment. Since 27 July, the volume of gas from the Russian gas pipeline North Creek-1 to Germany has fallen to 20 per cent of its full load, while the Turkish Creek has remained stable. The pipeline goes not through Ukraine, but across Belarus to Poland and Germany. Putin says that European partners should thank Turkey for ensuring that Russian gas is delivered to European markets without interruption. Turkey’s Pipeline Stable for Europe
While Russian Deputy Prime Minister Novak informed the media that day about the talks, he said that the parties had agreed that the two countries would start using the Lub to settle part of the Russian-to-Russian gas supply, and that the Turkish people welcomed it, and one of them said: “Good agreement. Russia and Turkey should use rubles and lira, and the dominance of the United States dollar and the euro will soon come to an end.”
The Presidents also stated that the Akuyo nuclear power plant would be inaugurated in 2023. The Akuyo nuclear power plant would be the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, to be built by the Russian Atomic Energy Agency. Erdoğan stressed that the nuclear power plant, once fully completed, would meet 10% of the energy needs of the country.
Ethoy, researcher at the Middle East Institute at King's College in London, said that Turkey had succeeded in positioning itself as a Russian diplomatic channel to the international community through its role in areas such as food agreements. Following the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, Turkey, as a member of NATO, sold drones to Ukraine to assist its troops in bombing Russian military tanks on the battlefield; on the other hand, Turkey opposed Western sanctions against Russia and obstructed many attempts by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. Erdoğan took advantage of the complex network of relations with Russia, the United States and NATO to increase Turkey’s international influence and raise public expectations in the presidential elections of the first half of next year.