Beyond the Gas Trade: The Structural Determinants of Russo-Turkish Relations


The post-Cold War era has seen Russia and Turkey become close trading partners, mainly with regard to gas imported via the undersea Blue Stream pipeline. Such trade cooperation and the ensuing economic interdependence have created euphoria and optimism that this will spill-over to high politics. Many analysts have concluded that, at the least, the prospect of economic growth and increasing energy cooperation will cause political and strategic disputes in the Caucasus, the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere to wane.
Moreover, the debate is referred to as a ‘win-win’ situation, for Turkey could find adequate quantities of cheap natural gas to sustain its flourishing industrial sector and Russia could increase its revenues via new energy exports. However, is this enough for a convergence in terms of strategic interests? The classic debate on the meaning of economic interdependence returns again and again as long as monolithic and teleological arguments keep being made. Can structural the political-strategic determinants of the Russo-Turkish energy gamble be neglected? The two powers’ policies in the Caucasus, Ukraine and Syria seem to indicate that causes of war – or strategic antagonism – arise beyond materialist convergences.


Russo-Turkish Relations natural gas blue stream economic interdependence