‘I am fed up with Bulgarians,’ Putin tells Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak during the latter’s visit to Ankara, Dec. 1. AA Photo

Bulgarian authorities creating difficulties is the main reason why Russia scrapped the South Stream pipeline project, Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during their meeting on Dec. 1, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

2c34b574-7a38-11e4-9b34-00144feabdc0.imgThe now-abandoned South Stream pipeline project. Russia is looking for a way to deliver gas to Europe without crossing Ukrainian territory. It will now use a route going through Turkey instead.

“I am fed up with Bulgarians. Having the West and the European Union at their back, they are challenging and opposing us. They are delaying the project,” Putin reportedly told Erdoğan during the Turkey-Russia High-Level Cooperation Council meeting.

The Russian president announced the end of the much-anticipated South Stream pipeline project at a joint press conference with Erdoğan on Dec. 1. The project was planned to carry 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to European markets via a pipeline under the Black Sea and Bulgaria.

Putin’s unexpected statement created shockwaves not only in Moscow, but also in Sofia, which was expecting to earn some 400 million euros as a transit country.

Putin’s declaration came as a surprise, as even his closest right-hand men heard about the cancelation of the project through his talks with the Erdoğan-led Turkish team. The scrapping of the South Stream project pushed Putin and Erdoğan to explore new routes for the pipeline, and both leaders have agreed to begin technical work for the construction of a new pipeline from Russia to Turkey. Around 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas is predicted to be marketed through a gas terminal to be located on the Turkish-Greek border…

More on the unexpected decision to abandon South Stream:

Eastern European nations reacted with shock and anger to Russia’s decision to abandon South Stream, its $50bn gas pipeline across the Black Sea into Europe, as shares in some of the companies involved in the project dived.
Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary said they had received no advance warning that Moscow was scrapping South Stream, even though they all have substantial financial and political capital invested. Russia said it would export its gas to a trade hub in Turkey instead.

South Stream is so far the biggest casualty of the stand-off between Russia and Europe over Moscow’s military involvement in Ukraine.

The much-vaunted project, backed by Russia’s state-controlled gas group Gazprom, was designed to bring Russian gas into Europe by bypassing Ukraine. It gained momentum after a series of price disputes between Moscow and Kiev over the past decade led to supply cuts for some of Gazprom’s European customers.

But there were fears in Brussels that the pipeline would cement Gazprom’s domination of the European gas market. The European Commission insisted that other gas suppliers be given access to South Stream, arguing that the idea of Gazprom both providing the gas and owning the pipeline violated EU competition rules.

However, the project was backed by several countries in southeastern Europe, which saw it as a way to improve their energy security. They also looked forward to earning money from transit fees for South Stream’s gas as it crossed their territory.

I trust no will continue to entertain ridiculous notions about Russia being a protector of Christianity (even the Orthodox version) now that he has decided to become good pals with Erdoğan.

  • ☭ Vladimir Putin ☭

    Does my laying pipe excite you?

  • Norman_In_New_York

    This means rerouting the pipeline through mountainous territory.

    • Frau Katze

      There is already one large pipeline in Turkey, from Central Asia. Somehow, it’s working.

      • ☭ Vladimir Putin ☭

        There are back door ways to lay pipe. My gas is coming whether you like it or not.

        • Frau Katze

          We know you need the revenue, Vlad.

  • Hard Little Machine

    So has Putin discovered an oppressed minority of Russian speaking Bulgarians he has to ‘liberate’ now?

    • Frau Katze

      Not exactly. But they’re in the EU now, and right now Putin doesn’t want to get involved with the EU. Hence he would rather deal with non-EU member Turkey.

      When the South Stream route was first being talked of, Putin was OK with the EU. Now they’re the enemy.

      • Hard Little Machine

        The map still has it going through Bulgaria instead of Ukraine. But I suspect that trying to do any business with Turkey will wind up being frustrating and sad and in a few years they’ll walk away. Always count on an Islamic state to shoot themselves and fail over ‘honor’ or some such nonsense.

        • Frau Katze

          The map above shows the route of the planned but now abandoned South Stream. I have no map of the Turkish route.

          It’s too new for a map.

          There’s another pipeline going through Turkey, from Central Asia. Erdogan earns transit fees. What’s not to like?

  • FactsWillOut

    Harper is good buddies with the Saudi’s and the Chicoms.

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    Why does the map show Crimea and the Donetsk and Lugansk areas as Ukrainian?

    I also see no one in the mainstream media as well as talk radio talking about Ukraine having to submit to the IMF and have to be indebted en masse. It is quite an admission of how much Western leaders are accepting of debt. It speaks to their character and why all Western nations have such high debt levels.

    Russia and China know true wealth and why they don’t have the trivial debates on pipelines, oil and gas and industrialization.

  • DD_Austin

    The Ukraines are such thieving scum, that he’s making deals with muslims rather
    dealing with them. I don’t blame him

  • Solo712

    If you followed the South Stream saga you would know that the US and EU pressured Bulgaria since the spring to stall on the project and more or less force Gazprom to use the nothern routes (the main one going through Ukraine). The South Stream would have allowed Russians to control better the endpoints of delivery (via Serbia who is Russia’s ally), and prevent the massive “reverse flow of Russian gas to Ukraine” from Poland and Slovakia. In June Bulgaria announced it is stopping the work on South Stream, then reversed itself but again the work stopped in August. The poor idiots in Sofia cannot read the writing on the wall and missed a great chance to be a major transit point for Russian gas that would significantly boosted its pathetic economy. Putin’s deal with Erdogan is a cynical manouevre, convenient to both sides. The terminal for Russia’s “southern” gas is worth several billion dollars. Putin is thumbing his nose at Washington showing the hawks they cannot control anyone but pathetic East European satraps.