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2 Jul, 2009 18:59

Gazprom pitches South Stream to the Turks

Gazprom is in talks to build the vast South Stream gas pipeline to the EU through Turkish waters. Moscow wants to bypass unreliable transit states, but experts told RT Turkey will become a "Second Ukraine."

Russia is gaining the edge over the EU in their fight for gas. On Monday Moscow signed up key supply state Azerbaijan. Now Turkey plans to pipe South Stream through its part of the Black Sea according to Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.

“We're negotiating the terms here in Moscow. We are ready to accept Russia's proposals.”

Both Azerbaijan and Turkey had been courted by the EU for its rival Nabucco pipeline. But Russia may regret its so-called victory according to Konstantin Simonov, Head of the National Energy Security Fund.

“Turkey can be the second Ukraine. Why? Because it's the same situation. Turkey will be the proprietor of the pipes, so it's possible to use this status as an instrument of pressure. We see political risks, and the problem of increasing role of Islamists in Turkey.”

Ankara has already tarnished its Nabucco and EU membership prospects by insisting the two must go together. Now South Stream talks have slowed because Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan demands 15% of transit as cheap gas for Turkey.