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Global Energy Advisory 4th December 2015

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

Russia has hit Turkey with a bit of economic warfare in the form of embargoed goods, targeting most damagingly Turkey’s textile and tourism industries. Notably, there is no mention of cutting of Russian gas for Turkey.

This would be a move Russia could ill afford right now. Moscow needs Turkey both as a gas customer and as a very significant gas-transit point. But the bigger picture here can only be arrived at by historical comparisons. And when we do this, a frightening bigger picture emerges. For Turkey, ISIS offers an ill-perceived pathway back to the glories of the Ottoman Empire, which controlled a Sunni Arab empire—and, incidentally, used Palestine as a wasteland that was one of the first breeders of the ‘Palestine problems’ today, later fomented further by the British, the French and powerful Arab kingdoms who definitively did not have the interests of the Palestinians in mind; rather used and abused them to the point of no return.

Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, likely sees an opportunity here—in line with an egomaniacal profile—to restore the Ottoman Empire after a fashion. Turkey has long harbored these greater ambitions, which would give them more clout against the Kurds and even against the oil-powerful Saudis. Many right now are ignoring the threat of ISIS because they foresee this as the only existing front against Shi’ites—which means against a…

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