Energy politics affect all aspects of daily life through the vast use of energy from households to industries. Hence, the issue of energy security remains a crucial and compelling one. This study aims to explore the current literature on energy security, natural gas geopolitics in particular, within the triangle of Russia, Turkey and the European Union (EU).
The first two legs of the study deal with Russia, which is the biggest natural gas supplier in the world, and the EU, which is the biggest energy market for Russian gas supplies. The third leg, however, is neither a major natural gas supplier nor a giant energy market but a potential energy hub, namely, Turkey.
Regarding the linkage between European integration and Europe’s external energy policy, this study aims to shed light on the major risks of natural gas dependency for Russia and the measures that have been taken to overcome this problem. Within that framework, there will also be emphasis on two aspects of the energy relationship in this triangle: the feasibility of the EU supported Nabucco pipeline project as an alternative to the Russian gas; and the impact of energy on Turkey’s accession process.
In order to exemplify the EU's efforts to diversify its energy routes, the Nabucco pipeline project has been chosen, which offers a win-win situation for both the EU and Turkey - the key country in the connection point. Firstly, it can offer a solution to the dependency on Russian gas exports, and secondly Turkey will gain key importance for European security which in turn can be leverage for the country’s membership status.
The main argument of this study is that, on one hand the alternative project of Nabucco, as some argue, may not be sufficient enough on its own to meet the EU’s natural gas demand and on the other hand, the achievement of this project is advantageous anyway and can play a catalyzing role in Turkey’s EU membership process.
Ece Ozkan is studying for an MA in politics at New York University.
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