It seems that in global politics, old comedy skits never die.
The all wise and powerful wanna be Ottoman Sultan, Erdigan, first of his name, has decreed a threat to Russia: abandon what you are doing (fighting Isis and other Islamics and supporting the legitimate government of Syria) or Turkey will cut its gas purchases from Russia and may cancel the nuclear power station construction and may cancel the pipeline.
This is, in economic terms, threatening to commit suicide if you do not get your way. Why? Lets, dear readers, review:
First, the impact on volumes. Turkey buys from Russia 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year, which in and of itself is not a small amount. It is not a large amount either. To put this into context, the UK buys 16.6 billion cubic meters of Russian gas (and that is with its own production). To replace this, Turkey has only one actual alternative: Iran. We shall now go through a list of all the other gas suppliers and why this is not a solution.
First Iran, Shia Iran, Shia Iran fighting Sunni extremists in Syria. Shia Iran fighting TURKISH sponsored and armed Sunni Extremists in Syria. Persia is not going to allow the Ottomans to rise up again. But even if that was not reason enough, the infrastructural and economics make zero sense. First, the cost: Russia sells Turkey gas for $418 per 1.000 cubic meters, Iran for $487, so 17% more expensive. Then there is the fact, that with its aged and limited infrastructure, Iran can not provide what Turkey needs and it will be several years of high volume investment projects, before it can.
Algeria: well besides the fact that most of Algeria's gas goes to Europe, Algeria is ruled by a secular military clique full opposed to the Islamic Erdigan and his jihadi games.
Libya....is that even a country still? Turkey helped murder that nation.
Egypt, again, ruled by a secular military clique who barely survived the Turkish backed Muslim Brotherhood take over. This is a non-starter.
Israel: yes, Israel now has gas, and yes, Turkey backed the Palestinians and tore up relations with Israel....ooops.
Cyprus: no S.Cyprus never developed its fields due to threat of war from the Islamic Jihadist Erdegon.
Iraq, well the gas here is either in the Kurdish hands or in the hands of Shia Iraqis, neither of which is about to feed the Turkish beast.
Qatar...only if the gas can fly over Iraq and Syria or the Turkish backed and Qatari owned Sunni psychopaths win.
So, maybe Turkey wants to by reverse gas from Europe? Like Ukraine, which will be freezing this winter?
Then there is the threatened cancellation of the Turkish Stream. Sure, that will make great hardships for Russia, but with Nord Stream 2 in construction, the impact will not be as bad as it could be and the first and foremost to suffer will again be the luckless and often clueless southern Europeans, caught and raped on a regular basis by the maneuverings of the US, UK and Germany (who secured its gas supplies with Nord Stream 1).
To this, Turkey will loose tens of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in transit fees. Again, not a smart move for a struggling economy.
But what of the threat to close down the construction of the nuclear power plant being built by Rosatom and to switch to a European or American builder. Sure, they can do that. There is, of course, just one caveat: Rosatom is building this plant on its own rubles....its a Russian investment to pay off over a rather lengthy time. The French or the Yanks are not going to drop their own cash in....so this is another suicidal economic threat.
All in all, all of this is Turkish stupidity. I will not call it bluster, because the Turks are crazy enough to do this and to even try and blockade the Dardenells, as also threatened. To that end, Russia can of course either force the Dardenells, but that would mean war, or start up again (as was done by the Soviets) massive funding of the Kurdish cause and even recognize an independent Turkish Kurdistan as a separate nation. This will split off almost half of Turkey and 1/3rd of its population, making the great Turkish revival into an instant death spiral down to third rate nation state.
What to do, what to do?