Over the last years Turkey has been increasingly associated in the international political and economic debate with concepts such as “gas corridor” and “gas hub”. This characterization of Turkey is clearly mainly due to its unique geographical position at the crossroads the Caspian region, the Middle East and Europe. In particular, this argument is often advanced in the political discussion on the rise of Turkey as a leading regional power and in the debate on the future prospects for the EU-Turkey relations. However, by going beyond the political slogans and by focusing on the concrete gas realities around Turkey this picture could be seriously put into question. The aim of this paper is to explore the real potential role of Turkey in the regional gas markets, firstly focusing on the current situation of gas producing countries around Turkey and then moving to the future prospects of gas cooperation in the region. To this end, the paper will provide an assessment of both the current situation and outlook of gas markets in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel and Cyprus, subsequently providing a discussion of the future prospects of the Southern Gas Corridor and of the potential Eastern Mediterranean Gas Corridor. This analysis will indicate that Turkey will hardly have the potential to become a regional gas hub in the medium term (up to 2020-2025). However, Turkey could have the potential to play an important role in the regional gas markets in the longer term (after 2025-2030) if a number of infrastructural, commercial and political barriers described in the paper are overcome and -last but not the least- if the EU gas demand recovers and the EU market actually needs more natural gas supplies.


Suggested citation: Tagliapietra, S., (2014), ‘Turkey as a Regional Natural Gas Hub: Myth or Reality? An Analysis of the Regional Gas Market Outlook, beyond the Mainstream Rhetoric’, Nota di Lavoro 2.2014, Milan, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.