Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of a special series in collaboration with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, “Black Sea’s Back.”
Obscured by the shadow of the heated debate raging in Europe over the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, natural gas investments capable of transforming European energy access and security in the Black Sea region are underway in Turkey. Aware of the potential importance of these new natural gas corridors, Turkey has positioned itself to become an important player alongside — if not at the expense of — Russia, which has historically been the main natural gas supplier to both Turkey and Europe. But whether this coming diversification of natural gas supply into the Black Sea region will be a decisive win for Turkey or a gain for European energy security remains to be seen. It will depend on the level to which Turkey remains independent of Russian influence and whether Turkey itself follows market rules as it dispenses natural gas flowing from Russia, Azerbaijan, and potentially other Caspian suppliers onward to Europe.