The global energy market continues to be driven by the political economy of oil production and trade. Energy markets have come full circle returning to their fundamentals: oil is there to stay and play an important role in the era of slow melting of the oil surplus.
This article reviews key dynamics in the Middle Eastern oil and gas to explain how they shape the global energy picture. The author makes sense of the Saudi-Iran relations and the role OPEC is set to play in the emerging energy landscape. Finally, political developments in the broader region, including Turkey, are discussed.
The talks between Erdogan and Putin herald a new era in Russian-Turkish relations, as Turks now see Russia as a true friend and admire Russia’s motion to support the Turkish President in the midst of a coup, Valdai Club expert Huseyin Bagci believes.
From the beginning, Turkey was one of the most active and ambitious players in the so-called Arab Spring that shook the foundations of the Middle East from 2010-2012. It is no surprise that such outward instability has seeped inward.
The policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are typically viewed as the determining factor for everything that happens within or in connection with Turkey. And, doubtless, a president with such a single-minded desire for power, glory and a place in history does have a significant impact on a country’s course. However, Turkey is an example of how the world is changing in general, and objective factors play a no-less-crucial role than subjective ones in that process.
Last year’s incident with the Russian Su-24 jet instantly changed the very nature of Russia-Turkey relations. What used to be viewed by the leaders of the two countries as a strategic partnership was replaced with harsh confrontation.
In the fall of 2015, Russia resolved to raise the stakes in Syria by launching an air campaign at the request of Damascus.
Russia entered 2015 burdened by a confrontation with Ukraine and the Western countries, which had thrown their weight behind Kiev. Western hostility took the form of painful economic sanctions against Moscow.
The Turkish Air Force’s attack on a Russian aircraft flying over Syria has jeopardized development prospects for Russia-Turkey cooperation in the gas sector.
While escalation of the conflict between Russia and Turkey is unlikely for now, so too is any full restoration of ties between the two estranged nations. What’s most likely is a new type of frozen conflict.
How Turkish downing of Russian jet fuels Middle East tensions
The Syrian crisis has deteriorated dramatically, moving from armed struggle mostly against non-state, and therefore barely identifiable, groups to a direct clash between major military powers.
Can Turkey become another Ukraine for Russia? Such speculation would be premature at this point. Today the choice of Turkey as a transit country for the transportation of Russian hydrocarbons to Europe looks strategically sound.
A group of U.S. neo-conservatives have been increasingly active in their efforts to rebuild the world to their design. Yet they have clearly misunderstood the vector of the transformations underway, and, which is still worse, have displayed historical ignorance.
Russia has been observing the unexpected events in Turkey idiosyncratically: through the prism of its own domestic policy.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has met with Vladimir Putin often and known him for a long time, has visited Moscow.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.