Energy in Turkey and Russia’s Roller-Coaster Relationship


Insight Turkey Volume 19 No. 1, 2017

Energy relations between Turkey and Russia provide an excellent example of how energy and politics interrelate in countries with a historically upand-down relationship. Located in a unique trans-continental geography, both Turkey and Russia have remained in between the East and West politically throughout their history. Even though they are not particularly defined as Western powers, both have tried to make reforms to adjust to western values. In the meantime, relations between Turkey and Russia have undeniably been
bumpy. Historically, the two countries have fought at least 12 times; during the war of 1877-78, Russian troops managed to come as close as the capital of the Ottoman Empire prior to the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano. As history unfolded and Tsarist Russia became the Soviet Union, relations between the two countries started to recover from past hostilities. The closed-door diplomacy
between Tsarist Russia, France and Britain was exposed to the public in Izvestia and Pravda on November 23, 1917 by the Bolsheviks, spoiling the Sykes-Picot Agreement - the secret Anglo-French pact that proposed the splitting up of the Ottoman territories in the Middle East into zones of control. Moreover, Bolshevist Russia was the first to sign a friendship treaty on March 16, 1921 with the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which had recently been established under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal.

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