By Mehmet Cetingulec
The number of projects that will turn Turkey into a natural gas bridge between East and West is increasing. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Iran, Russia and Israel all have a desire to transport natural gas to Europe viaTurkey.
Turkey itself is a major natural gas consumer with its annual demand of about 50 billion cubic meters. European countries that are committed to natural gas energy are frantically searching for alternative sources, mainly in the Middle East and the Caucasus, as alternatives to Russia. Producing countries are also searching for ways to reach European markets. In many of these projects, Turkey, with its bridge-like status between the Caucasus, the Middle East and Europe, is the best possible solution.
Can these projects be implemented? What is their status now?
The Nabucco project had stirred much excitement that led to agreements signed between countries. But there was a problem of finding a natural gas supply. Russia announced it would not supply gas to this pipeline and as alternative introduced the South Stream project, which was to reach Europe via Bulgaria. South Stream meant Nabucco was stillborn. But the tension between Russia and Ukraine upended all plans. The United States and Europe imposed sanctions on Russia. EU member Bulgaria, which is a key junction to distribute to Russian gas to Europe, refused to allow the South Stream on its territory.