BRUSSELS, June 16. /TASS/. Turkey is ready to be chief distributor of Russian gas in Europe, so partnership with Ankara in the implementation of the Turkish Stream project is beneficial for Russia, Alexander Rahr, a consultant at Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, told TASS on Tuesday.
Rahr, along with top managers of the European energy sector, took part in a roundtable meeting organized by Gazprom’s representative office in Brussels.
"I have always thought Europe underestimates Turkey as a possible transit corridor. Turkey is ready, at least now, to be a chief distributor of Russian gas in Europe, a gas hub. Such position is very interesting, beneficial for any country. Thus, Germany under [Chancellor Gerhard] Schroeder wanted very much to become such a hub. But thing went another way and Germany has failed to become a full-fledged hub. Other countries refused - such offers were made to Poland, Finland and other states. Turkey has not turned down this offer, so it is paying to build such strategic relations with that country," he said.
In terms of geographical location, according to the expert, Turkey is a natural transit state for Europe. "Geography is one of the decisive factors in this business. What are the routes to pump gas from Iraq, Iran, Central Asia to Europe - only via Russia and Turkey. Turkey is a very reliable partner, especially when the Kurdish problem is solved and the pipe in Turkey’s eastern provinces is secured against terrorist attacks," Rahr said.
So, in his words, the most advantageous southern gas transit routes to Europe run via Turkey, "regardless of when Russian gas is pumped or not."