Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (3rd R) talks during the signing ceremony of the Nabucco Intergovernmental Agreement in Ankara on July 13, 2009. Erdogan said on Monday Turkey wanted Iranian gas to be transported to Europe via the planned Nabucco pipeline "when conditions allow", despite U.S. opposition.

At the center of Europe’s lucrative pipeline politics

Turkey: On the Energy Crossroads

January 2010, Number 01.01

“Natural gas delivery disruptions and their connections to political disputes have gained attention over the past several years, mostly for obvious reasons related to Russian supplies to Europe.

While those disruptions are usually far more complex in their origins and political connections than reported in the press, the most tempting lens through which strategists can view such things is one of great power competition. The resulting “with us or with them” rubric can bring scrutiny on countries caught in the middle. 

But in the past year, countries such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have shown once again that national interests are deeper than regional or political affiliations, and when it comes to energy policy in Europe’s neighborhood, alternative export and transit options are rarely off the table.

Therefore, despite the suspicious commentary surrounding Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s August 2009 visit to Ankara, it should come as little surprise that the same is the case for Turkey.

Turkey indeed finds itself in the middle, or perhaps more accurately at the center, of Europe’s pipeline politics. Geography is clearly a key factor, but so are Turkey’s institutional bonds to Europe...”

Excerpt from Phillip Cornell, “Turkey: On the Energy Crossroads,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 1, 2010: 30-33.

Dr. Phillip Cornell works at the International Energy Agency in Paris, where he is engaged with energy policy issues. Before that, he was a senior fellow and director of international initiatives at the NATO School, in Oberammergau, Germany, where he worked on NATO energy security policies. He continues to serve as an adjunct faculty member with NATO. He has a master’s degree in international economics (energy focus) and European studies (security focus) from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.