With Russian-Turkish relations bottoming out after Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet last November, Ankara is scrambling to reduce its dependency on Russian gas. But the help it needs from post-Soviet energy producers may not be swift in coming.
The Caspian Sea state of Azerbaijan, Turkey’s closest ally in the post-Soviet region, was the first place Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited after the November 24 downing incident. And most recently, Davutoğlu met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Davos on January 20.
“Two nations, one people” is a popular mantra that officials in both Turkey and Azerbaijan use to describe their relationship. And yet when it comes to energy, there seems to be limits to this unity.
For one, Azerbaijan is not the gas producer that Russia is. The 27 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas Turkey received in 2015 — 55 percent of its overall supply — is about 1.4 times the size of Azerbaijan’s entire volume of produced gas for that year, noted Ilham Shaban, director of the Baku-based Caspian Barrel, an energy research center.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul. Durna Safarova is a freelance journalist who covers Azerbaijan.