US Wants to See Turkey ‘On the Same Page’ on Russian Gas

March 23, 2015

Russia is using natural gas as a political tool and the United States needs to know if it is “on the same page” with Turkey regarding Russia’s actions, a top U.S. energy envoy has said.

“What Europe desperately needs is the diversification of resources,” Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein told Hürriyet in a recent interview.

“Today you have a situation where European countries are reliant almost on one supplier. And it doesn’t really matter who the supplier is. It is never good for countries’ security to rely on one supplier or to be over-reliant on one. Especially when that supplier has a tendency to use its energy supply as a political tool,” he said.

US wants to see Turkey ‘on the same page’ on Russian gas

According to Hochstein, the Turkish Stream project, which will replace the South Stream project to carry Russian natural gas to Europe via the Black Sea, is not an economic project but a political project.

“What South Stream was going to do was take the same Russian gas from the same field that currently supplies Europe to the same European customers through a different route,” said the U.S. envoy.

“When it became evident that South Stream could not work, Turkish Stream was announced. But Turkish Stream essentially is the same project, financed by one country, pursued and announced not by a CEO of a company, but by a president of a country. This is not an economic project. This is a political project,” he said.

Hochstein accused Russia of using its gas supplies as a “weapon.”

“I think that shutting off gas to consumers for political purposes is a tactic that resembles using it as a weapon,” he said. “And I think this happens around the world and we need to ensure that we use it less and less. That we don’t allow countries to use it as a weapon.”

According to the envoy, Turkey has yet to make a solid decision on the Turkish Stream project.

“I haven’t heard that Turkey has made any decision,” he said. “I think we are discussing those issues together. Ultimately it is a Turkish decision, not an American decision. I think we share similar goals. We have to make sure that we believe in the same tactics about what the procedures are going to be. This is a high stakes game to some degree and we have to make sure that we are on the same page.”

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