— The Erimtan Angle —

As I noted in my previous post, the Turkmen President was in Ankara recently, arguably cementing deals regarding the completion of the Nabucco pipeline project. But, at the same time, the much-vaunted TAPI pipeline project was also a topic of conversation. In 2010, I wrote a piece about the project on the occasion of the anniversary of 9/11, as providing an alternative explanation for the U.S invasion of Afghanistan.[1]  But now, it turns out, Turkey also wants a share of the profits arising from the pipeline that will connect Turkmenistan and India, via Afghanistan and Pakistan: ‘Ankara has taken an interest in the project of construction of the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India (TAPI) gas pipeline, a joint declaration signed during Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov’s visit to Turkey . . . [A] document was signed after the talks and high-level meetings’, as noted from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan by H. Hasanov writing for the Azeri website Trend.[2]  The Turco-Turkmen declaration reads as follows: “The parties confirmed the need for continuing work on the development of regional projects aimed at restoring and development of socio-economic spheres of Afghanistan. In this regard, the Turkish side expressed its interest in major projects, including the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, increasing supply of Turkmen electricity to Afghanistan, as well as projects of transport infrastructure development and expressed its support for these projects”.[3]

Hasanov states matter-of-factly that ‘The gas pipeline’s designed capacity is 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The buyers are gas companies of Pakistan and India. The project is promoted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Besides Dovletabad deposit, the largest ‘Southern Yeloten – Osman’ (Galkynysh) deposit developed in Turkmenistan may also become the raw materials base. The length of the pipeline may be 1,735 kilometers. Russia attaches interest to this project at a high level and its implementation is supported by the United States. President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov urged newly appointed heads of the country’s oil and gas sector to accelerate implementation of TAPI gas pipeline project’.[4]  News on progress of the TAPI project has been sparse at best since the Ashgabat meeting on 17-18 April 2010, but nevertheless work seems to have progressed steadily since . . . and Turkey has been actively promoting Turkmen gas since that time as well, as reported by Today’s Zaman at the time: ‘Turkish firms in Turkmenistan are reshaping the way business is being done and are making themselves known in various sectors, aiming to export to the world through the land of their ancestors. State Minister Zafer Çağlayan, visiting Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, gave the president the Government Official of the Year Award yesterday, presented by the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Foundation (TÜSİAV) for his efforts to transform Turkmenistan into a developed nation and for his support of Turkish businessmen in the country. Berdimuhamedov accepted the award and stated that the Turkish businessmen his country were vital to the growth of the economy and that their numbers were so large that he was unsure of how many of them were in his country. Çağlayan noted that Turkmenistan’s construction sector was backed by Turkish contractors and that they were currently involved in over $17 billion in projects in the country. He added that the biggest source of projects for the Turkish contracting sector during the economic crisis was Turkmenistan and requested that the president give preference to Turkish firms for power plant construction’.[5]

[1] Cfr. C. Erimtan, “9/11 and the occupation of Afghanistan:” Today’s Zaman (13 September 2010). http://tiny.cc/81shu.

[2] H. Hasanov, “Turkey takes interest in TAPI gas project” Trend (01 March 2012). http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1998473.html.

[3] H. Hasanov, “Turkey takes interest in TAPI gas project”.

[4] H. Hasanov, “Turkey takes interest in TAPI gas project”.

[5] “‘Turkish contractors get large piece of pie in Turkmenistan’” Today’s Zaman (17 April 2010). http://www.todayszaman.com/news-207684-105-turkish-contractors-get-large-piece-of-pie-in-turkmenistan.html.



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