Putin’s Idea to Make Turkey Europe’s Gas Hub Rejected by Washington

Photo credit: EPA

The proposal that Russian President Vladimir Putin made on Monday to turn Turkey into a gas hub for the EU has prompted a negative reaction in the United States, which has rejected it as unacceptable.

The US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel noted that Washington is working closely with Ankara to assist its efforts to enhance energy security in the long term, also reiterating Washington’s efforts to entice its allies to take steps to diversify their energy sources and reduce energy reliance on Russia.

Patel reminded the US warnings that neither Turkey nor any of the other allies of the US should become a safe haven for illicit Russian assets or transactions.

Considering the concerning escalation between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, Putin’s proposal also caused concern in Athens, and it seems that even the EU members do not like the idea either.

Commenting on the proposal, French President Emmanuel Macron said that considering Europe’s striving to be independent of Russian gas, Putin’s idea makes no sense.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, however, seems to like Putin’s idea of creating an international gas hub in Turkey, which Putin presented in Kazakhstan emphasizing that Turkey is the most reliable route for Russian gas to Europe, and even urged his government to quickly present implementation plans.

The initial proposal emerged earlier in October after September’s blasts damaged the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

Noting that a natural gas hub could be set up in Turkey fairly quickly, Putin also stressed that it’s easier for Russia to control the Black Sea and work with President Erdoğan, describing him as a man of his word.

Russian President predicted on Monday that many European customers would want to sign contracts. He emphasized that due to the EU’s efforts to wean itself off Russian energy that used to cover about 40% of its gas needs, it’s very difficult to work directly with European commercial partners.

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