Russia cemented its energy grip on Europe and Turkey with the opening of an undersea gas pipeline yesterday, in defiance of United States sanctions.
The Turkstream line tightens President Putin’s control of the gas supply to Europe and Turkey, which already rely heavily on Russia’s reserves. It also bypasses Ukraine to bring gas into Europe via the Black Sea and Turkey, mitigating the threat to supply posed by tensions between Moscow and Kiev.
President Erdogan hailed Mr Putin as a “true friend” during the opening ceremony in Istanbul yesterday, and said that Turkstream would be a “symbolic project” for the relationship between the two countries. “Turkey did not allow divergent opinions with Russia to derail common interests,” he added, hinting at the spats between the two countries that have erupted since the project was mooted in 2014.