Russo-Turkish pipeline route on hold amid crisis
With Moscow threatening sanctions against Turkey in the aftermath of the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border, plans for a Russo-Turkish free trade zone appear be on hold—along with key energy projects. Foremost among these is the TurkStream gas pipeline, which Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Moscow could "restrict." (Reuters) TurkStream is being developed by GazProm, the Russian energy giant, to export Russian (and potentially Central Asian) natural gas through Turkey via the Black Sea. Ulyukayev's hedging is understandable: this has long been a strategic project for Moscow, which has long nurtured a grudge over the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline—linking the Caucasus to Turkish port of Ceyhan through a route that by-passes Russia.
Also seemingly on hold is the $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear power plant, that Russia is building in Turkey's Mersin province. It is slated to begin operations in 2022, Turkey's first nuclear plant. The project has been much hyped by leaders in Turkey, which imports much of its energy, including 98% of its natural gas and 92% of its oil. (Sputnik, Reuters, Trend, Azerbaijan; World Nuclear Association)