Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 1
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
After it became known that Ankara has frozen talks on the construction of the "Turkish Stream" due to the situation with gas prices, the Russian side has taken a defensive position in this matter.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak denied the information on freezing of the "Turkish Stream" and said that there was no official statement on the suspension of the talks of the Russian Federation and Turkey in this regard.
He also noted that "Gazprom" and the Turkish Botas have agreed to grant the Turkish side a discount on Russian gas at a rate of 10.25 percent, but the document has not yet been signed.
In fact, there is nothing new in this statement by Novak, as the parties have agreed to a discount on gas in March 2015, but Botas refused to sign the document. The reason for refusal was the position of Russia on the construction of the "Turkish Stream."
Thus, the reason for freezing the construction of the "Turkish Stream" is not that the parties have not reached an agreement over the price of gas, but the fact that Russia does not give Ankara the opportunity to create a joint gas distribution network.
Russia wants to control the transport of its gas through Turkey on its own, which is not in the interests of Ankara.
The energy and natural resources minister of Turkey, Taner Yildiz earlier said Moscow and Ankara discussed the creation of a joint gas distribution network.
He said preliminary agreements were reached in this regard, but, unfortunately, Russia changed its stance.
For Turkey, it is important to get a discount on Russian gas, but more important for Ankara today is to create a joint gas distribution network.
The Turkish authorities are well aware that against the background of Ankara's refusal of the "take or pay" principle with Russia, one can resolve the issue of gas discount only through arbitration. Therefore, Ankara is not going to make concessions to Russia on the construction of the "Turkish Stream".
There is no doubt that without the creation of a joint gas network with Russia on the territory of Turkey, the authorities of this country will not agree to any concessions to "Gazprom".
Moscow can only hope for the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Russia.
If Moscow doesn't give Turkey the possibility to create a joint gas distribution network, Ankara will not provide a corridor for Russian gas.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu