Turkey Having Trouble Finding Alternatives To Russian Gas

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 Davuto?lu [sic] visited after the November 24 downing incident. And most recently, Davuto?lu [sic] 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. Continue reading

Armed Caspian becomes dangerous

At the end of September – early October, Russia and Iran will carry out joint military drills in the Caspian Sea to train maritime security-enforcement operations. Iranian military attaché to Moscow Col. Suleiman Adeli said: “Iran and Russia want Caspian states to maintain maritime security without interference of foreign states. They consider presence of foreigners a source of tensions and conflict.”

When they mention “foreign interference”, they usually keep the US in mind. Although, it is not only the US that has political, military-strategic and economic interests in the region. The EU and China have own palates. The reason why Caspian states arm themselves is terrorism, extremism, separatism and expansionism of the West. These are the new threats of the Caspian Sea. The US strategy in the Middle East remains a sensitive issue for the Caspian Sea, but the steps made in the Middle East to disrupt the balance of power by pressing on Syria may cause problems for all Caspian and Trans-Caucasus states. Continue reading

Of strategic missiles and easy money: Russia’s positioning in the South Caucasus

In recent weeks, important information regarding the military balance of power in the South Caucasus has come to light. On June 3rd it was revealed that Russia has stationed an undisclosed number of Iskander-M ballistic missiles in Armenia. While on June 18th media outlets reported that Russia has begun the delivery of nearly $1 billion worth of weaponry, which include tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery cannons, to Azerbaijan. Continue reading