TANAP Will Trump “Turkish Stream”—Putin Loses

Why TANAP is more important than the Turkish Stream


A surprising Russian proposal to construct a new natural gas pipeline from Russia to Europe via Turkey in order to bypass both Ukraine and Bulgaria is still one of leading issues being discussed in the relevant capitals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cancelation of the South Stream that had been planned to carry 63 bcm natural gas to European markets via the Black Sea and Bulgaria led to the so-called Turkish Stream, with plans to station a gas terminal on the Turkish-Greek border. Many government sources and pro-government analysts argue that this will contribute to Turkey’s efforts to become an energy hub in the coming years. In this column on Dec. 3, I tried to analyze why Turkey has to be cautious in making this deal with Russia.

This column, however, will argue that the realization of the Turkish Stream would nix the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) project, which is in fact much more important for Turkey and its allies in the Caucasus. The Turkish Stream, however, is extremely important for Russia, which felt cornered after a series of sanctions from the EU and the U.S.

To make the picture clearer, let’s cite three important developments that occurred last week. The first was a visit by a high-level delegation from the EU led by Federica Mogherini, the new foreign policy chief in Brussels, accompanied with EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn. As reported in the press, the EU officials clearly urged Turkey to better align its foreign policy with Brussels, recalling that its recent deals with Moscow undermine the sanctions imposed on the country. That also includes energy policies.

The second development was about the details of the Turkish Stream, which were revealed by Russian Deputy Energy Minister Kiril Molodtsov. Molodtsov said the pipeline was planned to be ready by late 2017 – in just three years – after which Russia will be able to transport around 50 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, however, informed that this $20 billion-worth project could start to function in either 2019 or 2020, and that they were still working on its technicalities. He also underlined that the project would not be only a transit gas pipeline, but it would be distributing to European markets.

Yıldız’s statement came a few days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the deal with Russia was non-binding and required the completion of more talks on the details. However, out of Yıldız’s words, one can see that Turkey has already begun negotiations on the nature of a final deal with Russia with a strong announcement of determination to accomplish the project. Yıldız has also said Turkey is ready to host any pipeline crossing through its soil, in reference to the Cyprus reserves.

However, the issue is not as simple as Yıldız puts it. Turkey’s neighborhood is full of energy source countries and there will always be a competition and clashes of conflict between these countries in their efforts to market their reserves. Plus, Turkey cannot look at the issue solely from an opportunistic perspective, as pipelines and energy corridors make up an important part of the strategic planning of all of regional countries.

This aspect was visible during the recent tripartite meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan in Turkey’s eastern city of Kars. One of the issues discussed during the joint press conference was Turkey’s signing of a memorandum of understanding with Russia for the construction of the Turkish Stream.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had to clearly underline that Turkey’s priority was the TANAP project. “We know how important [TANAP] is for Turkey, Georgia and Europe, particularly southeastern Europe. Along with the TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline], the TANAP is a project that could carry natural gas to different European countries. We should all exert efforts for the completion of this project, regardless of the decrease in oil and gas prices,” he stressed.

Çavuşoğlu’s statement is particularly important because he admitted that TANAP’s objective is no different from the Turkish Stream. Both will supply natural gas to European markets. However, given the decrease in energy demands in European markets, it will be hard to have two pipelines operating at the same time.

Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili openly expressed his satisfaction at hearing from Çavuşoğlu that Turkey’s priority is the TANAP, while underlining that the project was vital for regional development. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, however, recalled once again that the TANAP should be considered together with the TAP and stated that it will cost around $45 billion. “It will be the greatest project within the EU,” he said.

“This project has global significance. According to estimations, the first gas will come to Turkey late 2018 or early 2019. We, as Azerbaijan, have committed to Turkey that we will invest around $20 billion for these projects,” Mammadyarov said, in a diplomatic reminder to his Turkish colleague.

Turkey’s priority should be opening its territories to projects that would increase its regional weight, as well as its role in the future energy equation. The future energy game will require the introduction of new players like Iraq, Iran and the Caspian region, and Turkey should assure these countries that they can completely rely on it when transporting their reserves to European and global markets.


Lal Masjid

Maulana Abdul Aziz

Taliban threatens activist for standing up against Red Mosque


times of india

ISLAMABAD: Taliban have threatened a Pakistan civil society activist for spearheading a protest movement against the cleric of Red Mosque here who had initially refused to condemn the Peshawar school massacre.

Maulana Abdul Aziz initially refused to speak against the horrible attack in Peshawar that killed 148 people, mostly children, resulting in protests outside the mosque in the heart of Islamabad.

Muhammad Jibran Nasir, one of the leaders of the protesters, said that he was threatened by Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman of Taliban splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar for leading the protests.

He posted the recording on the internet which shows Ehsan telling Nasir to stop his protests or he and his family would be targeted by the rebels.

“If the case against Red Mosque cleric is not withdrawn and if you did not stop protests, then don’t forget that you or your family will not be secure,” the caller said.

Nasir later told media that he would not back down from their planned protests today outside the Lal Masjid.

“We are not afraid. We are not backing out,” he said. A case has been registered against Aziz at the Aabpara police station on Friday, three hours after protesters had gathered outside it demanding the cleric be arrested for supporting Taliban.

Aziz is known sympathiser of Taliban and al-Qaida and has even named a library in the madrassa after Osama bin Laden.

The Red Mosque had had a series of run-ins with the authorities in Pakistan. The mosque was the scene of a deadly 10-day siege in 2007 between security forces and the followers of Abdul Aziz. The operation against the mosque had caused much outrage in the jihadi circles.

More than 100 people had died in the military take over of the mosque.

Nicaragua Begins Construction of New Canal, When Will SOUTHCOM Intervene?

The impressive numbers Grand Canal of Nicaragua


Nicaragua celebrates the start of construction of the canal in its territory.

Photo: BBC

This Monday, December 22, Nicaragua ceremony celebrates start of construction of a new canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A project worth US $ 50,000 million.

Depends on who you look, the project of the Grand Canal of Nicaragua, which seeks to compete with that of Panama, would be a scar in the heart of Central or artery to inject new blood into the region.

According to the government of Daniel Ortega, will provide many economic benefits to the country and end the extreme poverty and unemployment. But some suspect that it is not economically viable and environmental experts believe it could have a negative environmental impact.

HKND company, based in Hong Kong, received a 50-year concession for the rights to build the canal and another 50 years to handle it. Leading the company is a mysterious Chinese billionaire Wang Jing.

This waterway will be longer, deeper and wider than the Panama Canal.
BBC World offers a look at some of the figures that involves the work and realize how challenging it is.


Those are the millions of dollars that is expected to require the construction of channel Nicaragua, according HKND, the company’s Hong Kong who is in charge of the project.


The long anticipated Nicaragua Canal in kilometers. That of Panama is 77 kilometers, so the new channel will be more than three times longer average.


Surface of the Great Lake Nicaragua in km2. The canal route will pass through this body of fresh water, most of Central America, which has generated criticism from environmentalists.


The number of years that is expected to last the work, as announced by its promoters. The plan is to start construction in late 2014 and that the channel begins operating in 2020.


The years it took the United States to build the Panama Canal, completed in 1914.


The amount of people who, according HKND, used the work of the canal. The company says it will also create 200,000 indirect jobs.


The maximum depth in meters, which will channel whose width varies between 230 and 520 meters.


The age of Wang Jing, the mysterious businessman who runs HKND, who has been criticized for its lack of experience in ventures of this type, involving a huge engineering challenge.


Duration in year concession loan from Nicaragua to HKND, which can be extended for another 50.


First official mention in Nicaragua on the proposed construction of a canal, in a decree of December 10 of that year. A society formed in the Netherlands would be in charge of the work.

Nicaragua Canal route
Photo: BBC

Kandahar Commander Prepares “Kick In the Teeth” For Fleeing TTP Taliban

Afghan commander orders attacks on insurgents in Pakistan

stars and stripes
By Carlo Munoz

Abdul Raziq 2

Abdul Raziq, Kandahar Chief of Police, speaks to the assembled locals of Kajran in Daykundi Province during a shura on October 22, 2013. DoD photo by Cpl. Mark Doran, Australian Defence Force/Released.


KABUL, Afghanistan — The police chief in Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar has ordered his forces to attack Pakistani-based Tehrik-i-Taliban insurgents inside Pakistan, adding fuel to rising tensions along the countries’ shared border.

Police Brig. Gen. Abdul Raziq issued the order Friday, informing senior officials at the ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs in Kabul of his plans, Kandahar police spokesman Ahmad Zia Durrani said Monday. The move will be a “kick in the teeth” to Taliban and other insurgent groups based in Pakistan looking to strike inside Afghanistan, Durrani added.

Government officials in Kabul did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Raziq’s move came as Islamabad and Kabul are set to discuss coordinated military actions against the terrorists’ hideouts along the porous, mountainous border between the two nations.

Last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif threatened to send Pakistani troops into Afghan territory to kill or capture terrorist leaders responsible for the bloody attack Dec. 16 on a Pakistani military school. The massacre at the Army Public School and College in Peshawar, in which 149 people perished, was the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s history.

Pakistan claims to have captured several suspects tied to the Peshawar attack, but has not provided details on the number of arrests made or the identities of those taken into custody.

Durrani said Afghan border policemen were “continuously complaining of attacks” on their outposts from inside Pakistan. Tents used by the insurgents to mount their assaults were clearly visible inside Pakistani territory just 300 meters from the border, he added.

During a tour of the region last week, Raziq ordered Afghan troops to attack the camps and directed them to respond if other targets on the Pakistani side of the border present themselves, Durrani said.

“We destroyed all those tents with heavy machine-gun fire,” the spokesman said, but made clear that at no time did Afghan forces set foot on Pakistani soil.

It is not the first time the controversial Kandahar police commander has called for direct strikes against Taliban bases inside Pakistan. Since taking control of the restive province in southern Afghanistan, Raziq has faced multiple accusations of leading unsanctioned cross-border raids into Pakistan.

His willingness to pursue insurgents on both sides of the border made Raziq a favorite among U.S. and NATO commanders. But critics claim that coalition forces also turned a blind eye to allegations of corruption and human rights abuses in the region as a result of the campaign.

Islamabad reportedly intercepted communications from Tehrik-i-Taliban commander Umar Naray from across the border in Afghanistan showing that he coordinated the school attack. In an emergency visit to Kabul last week, Pakistani Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif requested Kabul’s support in joint operations to capture Mullah Fazlullah, head of the Pakistan Taliban, who is also reported to be hiding in northeastern Afghanistan.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.