An economic turn towards Eurasia; Turkish-Russian gas cooperation; Turkish opposition parties’ visits to the United States

An economic turn towards Eurasia; Turkish-Russian gas cooperation; Turkish opposition parties’ visits to the United States

The public agenda in Türkiye had been busy last week.

A broad debate occurred on the Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati’s statement that they have been developing relations between Türkiye and Russia and with many other Eurasian countries.

Another topic was the statement of Turkish officials about the establishment of a joint gas hub together with Russia.

The public also discussed the opposition parties CHP and IYI Parties’ visits to the United States.

Minister Nebati: Turkish economic relations with Russia are legal

At an interview with the Financial Times, the Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati said that Türkiye’s economic relations with Russia are legal, and that there has been “good neighborly relations.”

Nebati argued a “deliberate doubt” is being fabricated over Turkish-Russian relations both inside and outside of Türkiye.

It was also noted that Nebati’s remarks come at a time when both the US and the EU are intensifying the political pressures on Türkiye to apply sanctions.

In the interview with the FT, Nebati said: “Türkiye is a country that acts very carefully in the international financial system. We are not a country that would take steps to cause violations within the international financial system. And we are very clear about this. Everything comes here through the legal means.” He added that the actions of Türkiye are completely legal.

Referring to the ongoing nuclear cooperation between Türkiye and Russia, Nebati confirmed that Russia had transferred funds for the construction of the nuclear power plant in Akkuyu.

And referring to gas issues, Nebati said that his government had requested from Gazprom the postponement of payments and expected a positive answer from Russia in this regard.

Nebati also explained Türkiye’s economic model at the conference titled “Investing in Humanity: Enabling a New Global Order” in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

Nebati stressed that the world is going through a rough time period while Eurasia is on a rise, and he used the following expressions; “The role of the Eurasian economies will be critical in such a rough time period. In projections for 2050, the Asian economies are expected to make up of half of the global economy, and if we also add up Europe, the Eurasian economies are expected to make up of around 70 percent of the global economy. And as Türkiye, we are located at the center of these massive changes. While Türkiye is involved in many bilateral and multilateral organizations in the Asian region, it is growing simultaneously with the Eurasian countries that are strengthening their economic presence in the global market.”

The energy cooperation between Türkiye and Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a gas hub in Türkiye continues to echo.

Putin had previously made the following statements after the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline; “By redirecting the gas that cannot be transferred through the Nord Stream pipeline, to the Black Sea we can instead make a line for our gas through Türkiye and create one of the largest natural gas hubs for Europe in Türkiye”

The first assessment on the subject from the Turkish side, came from the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Donmez. Donmez stated that the proposal to deliver the natural gas to Europe through the Black Sea instead of the Nord Stream and to establish a natural gas center in Türkiye, needed comprehensive studies, while using the following expressions;  “This is the first time we have heard about such a project about the transfer of gas to Europe via alternative routes. So it is too early to make a comment about it. The feasibility of such international projects should be prepared in their legal, technical and economic regards. However Türkiye and Russia are two partners that have previously realized such similar international projects. TurkStream is the largest among them… These are one of the issues that are needed to be discussed and evaluated thoroughly”.

Turkish President Erdogan on the other hand, has made the following statements on the subject; “For such a distribution hub of course, Thrace is seen as on of the most suitable important regions for it. We have notified the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the counterpart institution in Russia, to carry out a joint work with Mr. Putin. They are going to make such studies in the region. We hope to be able to establish such a distribution hub there. We already have a nation-wide distribution hub, but of course now this one would be an international hub instead. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the Russian officials will carry out the works on this issue and present it to us, then we could actually take the step. We are not actually waiting for anything here. We immediately delivered our decision to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Mr. Miller from Russia (CEO of Gazprom) was also at this meeting, and he also received a briefing. Now our officials will start working in various meetings. While we are taking all kinds of security measures, of course, we are also rapidly establishing a security network and continuing our work accordingly”.

Visits to the US by Turkish opposition parties

Following the visit of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition party CHP, to the United States of America, a group of officials from IYI Party – another opposition party, also paid a visit to the US.

The CHP leader paid a 5-day visit to the United States, where he met with Turkish-American scientists and experts.

The question of whether the CHP leader made any political contacts or not, was heavily debated among the public for a long time.

Meanwhile, a group of politicians from the opposition IYI Party also paid a visit to the United States immediately after Kilicdaroglu.

No information was given about the program of that delegation. IYI Party Deputy Chairman Ahmet Erozan shared his meeting with the US State Department on his social media account:

“Allow me to state that the meetings we are conducting today at the US State Department in order to ensure that the transparency is essential, and with the hopes that it would be an answer to those who seek accusations, are regarding the developments in our bilateral relations and the developments in our immediate regions (Syria and Iraq)…”

“Overcoming the problems that are the product of the current government’s approach, is actually not very hard to achieve… As long as our foreign policy would be realistic, instead of being ideological. And according to our world view, only the people can give the approval, and that is given through a voting process. I recommend you to not go for a wild goose chase…”

The related news report in Turkish Aydinlik Newspaper is as follows;

“Erozan, who made a statement to Milliyet before the visit, answered the question what the goals of the visit are as follows: “We will not meet with Biden, just to let you know. The aim of this visit is to ensure that the relations between Türkiye and the United States are carried out in a healthier way in our government.” Erozan, who stated that they described 13 main topics that are problematic in the Turkish-American relations, also reported that they organized this program to address their resolutions. However, IYI Party never disclosed the 13-point list or the resolutions to be addressed.

Steven A. Cook, a senior member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that is also known as the US deep state, revealed eight months ago that IYI Party had been planning to pay a visit to the United States. Steven Cook, who works as an expert on the Middle East and Türkiye at the CFR, said that IYI Party requested for a meeting particularly for him.

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March 2023