TURKISH STREAM THROUGH THE EYES OF TURKISH OPPOSITION MEDIA

Importance of Turkish Stream for the Turkish Fuel and Energy Complex

The decision of the Russian Federation to abandon the South Stream project and reorient itself to supplying natural gas to European consumers through Turkey (the so-called Turkish Stream) was truly epoch-making in terms of geopolitics and geostrategy and recognized by international experts as Ankara’s energy foreign policy breakthrough in 2014 [9]. Nevertheless, the international aspect of this issue has left in the shadow of the Turkish national interest itself, and not so much geostrategic and / or geostrategic, but economic: for all its independence, politics is a concentrated expression of the economy, moreover, national.

Turkey is a country with a rapidly developing economy [1] , which implies an increase in the volume of electricity consumed by it. This fact raises two questions: a) consumed and generated power; b) energy carriers. According to the Turkish state energy company TEIAS, in 2014 electricity consumption in Turkey increased by 3.7% year on year; in addition, the energy company notes that in 2014 there was a 5% increase in electricity imports, which exceeds electricity exports from Turkey by almost 3 times! [11] (hereinafter the translation is ours, M.B.). Thus, these data clearly show that the most important problem for Turkey is the shortage of electricity.

The second question – energy carriers – brings us directly to the gas factor. Recall that in Turkey, one of the main sources of energy is natural gas: its share in the country’s energy balance, on average, is 32–35% [12; 14, p. 12]. However, this year, gas-fired thermal power plants accounted for 48.1% of generated electricity [2] [11]. Of course, Turkey acts on the principle of diversifying gas suppliers, but in this case, two new questions arise: a) the volumes supplied and b) the price and, therefore, the profitability of such gas for the national economy. An alternative to Russian gas is gas from Azerbaijan and Iran, but if the Azerbaijani gas of Turkey is clearly not enough (the share of Azerbaijani gas is 8% against 56% of Russian [3][17]), Iranian gas costs Turkey much more than Russian gas: according to the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz, the price of Iranian gas for Turkey is $505/1000m3 versus $400/1000m3 for Russian gas [18]; this is not counting the 5% discount offered by Gazprom against the backdrop of falling oil prices [19] . Thus, the agreement between Turkey and Russia on the implementation of the Turkish Stream is, first of all, the pursuit of Turkey’s national interests.

Turkish Stream in Hyrriet Daily News

However, an analysis of the materials of the Turkish opposition media – Hyrriet Daily News and Today’s Zaman – devoted to the gas agreement between Turkey and the Russian Federation and foreign policy forecasts for 2015, showed that the studied articles, for some reason, kept silent about the significance of this agreement [ 8], described it as extremely unfavorable from the position of Ankara’s European vector [19] or presented it as a pure geopolitical bluff [20]. Thus, a journalist from the Hyrriet Daily News interviewed the former Special Representative of the Republic of Turkey for Energy Mithat Balkan ( Mithat Balkan), in which the guest criticized the gas agreement between Russia and Turkey, since it “threatens Turkey’s interests.” [19] . Recall that the Hyrriet Daily News is one of the business structures controlled by the Turkish oppositionist Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the United States, who, according to President Erdogan, is his “personal enemy”. Hence the choice of interlocutor, as well as the general rhetoric of the material. The expert’s main concern is the threat that the Russian-Turkish deal poses to the TANAP project , which is supposed to deliver gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey to the EU countries. According to him, Turkish Stream jeopardizes the increase in the capacity of the TANAP gas pipeline project.. Here it is necessary to clarify that the TANAP project, with a throughput capacity of 16 billion m 3 /year [13], is another brainchild of the EU with its fixed idea to diversify gas supplies from Russia. True, even if we assume that the TANAP project reaches its ephemeral design capacity of 31 billion m 3 /year [ 3 ], this is unlikely to be able to significantly diversify the volumes of gas of 63 million m Turkish Stream”, as Mithat Balkan himself says. If this is a threat, it is not so much to Turkey, but to the groups lobbying the EU TANAP project , which clearly include a respected expert. In addition, focusing on the TANAP project, Mithat Balkan calls it “semi-Nabucco”, which contradicts his logic, because the infamous Nabucco project, the brainchild of Zbigniew Brzezinski, turned out to be unprofitable. The general attitude that Mithat Balkan’s interview to the opposition Hyrriet Daily News forms is “Turkey as the antithesis of Russia”, which is one of the main ideologies of the West in its Eastern policy – ​​the use of Turkey as a deterrent or influence factor on Russia: “The importance of Turkey for Europe lies in its role as an alternative gas supplier and transiter in order to reduce Brussels’ dependence on Russia”, noted the Turkish expert [19] . In other words, we are dealing with a vivid example of the concept of Atlanticism, the purpose of which is to turn Turkey from a subject of politics into an object, moreover, completely dependent on the political will of the West.

Hyrriet Daily News columnist Borut Grgic went even further, calling the Russian-Turkish gas agreement a “dummy”: ” Russian threats are a dummy ” [20]. Let us immediately pay attention to the use of agonal tactics against the Russian Federation through the use of the noun threat , which appeals not so much to the general Western historical discourse as to the national Turkish one: in 350 years there have been 12 Russian-Turkish wars, which naturally had an effect on the formation of negative stereotypes. Thus, in this context, the word threat- a meme of one of the periods in the history of Russia and Turkey, through which the author intended to form readers’ attitude towards modern Russia. The observer bases his position on the following ideologemes [20]:

1) Gas volumes for Europe : no one except Europe will be able to buy such a volume that will be released when Russia leaves the European gas market;

2) Low price of gas to China : The Middle Kingdom will not pay Russia the price paid by European consumers;

3) Hydrocarbon needle : given that oil and gas sector revenues account for more than 50% of revenues to the budget of the Russian Federation, Moscow will not be able to refuse gas exports to Western European countries: now the stabilization fund of the Russian Federation is 70 billion dollars, which will clearly make Moscow more accommodating;

4) Liquidity crisis : Russia does not have sufficient funds to implement the Turkish Stream;

5) Threat to Europe’s energy security : Turkish Stream threatens the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project

Let us comment on each of the ideologemes proposed by the author.

Ideologeme “gas volumes for Europe”

The author deliberately or unknowingly kept silent about the fact that in the fall of 2014 Russia and China signed an additional agreement, according to which gas supplies to the Celestial Empire will come not only from Eastern, but also Western Siberia, from where gas is traditionally supplied to Europe. This became possible due to the increase in gas production at the Bovanenkovskoye field by 1.5 times to 90 billion m 3 /year in combination with technical solutions from the Altai gas pipeline; these facts gave grounds to the head of Gazprom to declare that in the medium term, the volume of deliveries to China may exceed the current volume of exports to Europe [23, 24]. The proof that it will be realistic to redirect European gas volumes through the Altai gas pipeline is the sudden activation of American environmentalists and Russian partners in the Altai Republic[4] [22], through which this gas pipeline will have to pass. Thus, Russia will no longer depend on Europe as the main consumer of gas, therefore, this ideologeme is groundless.

Ideologeme “low price of gas to China”

The author again did not fully study the issue on this topic. It is known from open sources that the price of Russian gas to China can be $9.95/1000ft3 [ 26] or $351.33/1000m3 , which, in turn, fits into the price range of European buyers of Russian gas: $313.4 -525.5$/1000m 3 [27]. The groundlessness of this ideologeme is evident.

Ideologeme “Hydrocarbon Needle”

In this case, there is a double manipulation of statistical data: firstly, the share of oil and gas revenues in the budget in Russia is not more than 50%, but 48%, while this figure, according to forecasts, will decrease [21], and secondly, with t.z. of Russia’s GDP, the share of minerals is only 18.7% [28]. The actualization of budget revenue data against the background of the deliberate omission of the above fact is a clear example of the manipulation of statistics, which deprives this ideologeme of the status of an argument.

Ideologeme “Liquidity Crisis”

After the signing of the gas agreement with China, Alexey Miller stated that Gazprom refused to pay the Chinese side in advance in the amount of $25 billion [25]. The fact that the counterparty refuses to receive an advance payment cannot indicate a liquidity crisis, and statements that this is more of a geopolitical step are declarative in nature, since geopolitics, like politics in general, is based on economic interests.

Ideologeme “Threat to the energy security of Europe”

Given the Turkish origin of the publication, this is the main ideologeme of the material. An important role in giving this ideologeme the status of the main one is played by the structure of the text: the ideologeme is located at the end of the article, which, from a textual point of view, is a strong position – the center of communication; if we consider this fact from the position not of linguists, but of pragmatists and neurolinguistic programming, then this is a way to fix this particular ideologeme in the mind of the reader, because with t.z. theory of assimilation of information, the main body of information is remembered at the beginning and at the end of its study. As in the case with a similar ideologeme from the previous Hyrriet Daily News article, its task is to substantiate the status of Turkey as an object of European energy policy, i.e., in fact, to strengthen in the minds of the conceptual metaphor of the primacy of Europe’s interests over Turkey’s national interests : a project that strengthens the energy security of the EU ”. In this sentence, two constructions are of interest: what is important is that it performs the function of an intersifier, i.e., it actualizes the reader’s attention to this fact; Erdogan and his team- by doing this, the author creates in the mind of the reader the antithesis “Erdogan – Turkey”, thereby separating the president and his government from the state he leads and, as a result, forms the opinion that the “Turkish Stream” is beneficial, first of all, to the ruling elite; in turn, with t.z. Neuro Linguistic Programming is an implicit appeal to the problem of corruption, which is Turkey’s “Achilles’ heel” and the “headache” of its current president [29]. However, despite the whole system of methods of influencing the reader, this ideologeme is groundless for one reason: the author of this material is the founder of the Trans-Caspian Project , the goal of which is to include Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in the concept of the Southern Energy Corridor mentioned above.”- a direct competitor of the Turkish Stream .

Thus, the material of the Hyrriet Daily News columnist Borut Grgic is biased and cannot claim the status of objective criticism. His essay is nothing more than a verbal intervention based on the manipulation of facts through the mechanism of half-truth – the selective use of factual or statistical material. We add that all the proposed ideologemes are geopolitical and economic phobias – examples of the modern naive geopolitical picture of the world, performing the function of demonizing Russia in the eyes of English-speaking readers .Nevertheless, it should be noted that, despite the regular appeal to the FEAR archetype (geopolitical and economic phobias, the demonization of Russia), which is a fairly simple way of manipulating consciousness, verbal intervention with the so-called. neurolinguistic programming is designed at a high level, which, if the reader does not have sufficient background information, can have an effect.

It is also worth adding that, despite the clearly declarative nature of both materials of the opposition publication Hyrriet Daily News , they were referenced by the authoritative European industry Internet publication Natural Gas Europe [30; 31]. This once again proves that the main task of the ideologemes of the Hyrriet Daily News publications about Turkish Stream is to instill in the reader the concept of Atlanticism, according to which Turkey’s national interests are given a secondary role against the background of the primacy of the interests of the EU and the West as a whole. This is confirmed by the textual design of these ideologemes.

Turkish Stream in Today’s Zaman article

In the article by Today’s Zaman columnist Gökhan Bacik, 4 ideologemes can be conditionally distinguished, while the ideologeme related to the Russian vector is of secondary importance. The secondary importance of the ideologeme “Russia” is manifested in the fact that the observer, when making forecasts of Turkey’s foreign policy for 2015, does not mention the Turkish Stream project at all, but only refers to trade relations between the Russian Federation and Turkey [5 ]. Of course, it is economic cooperation, despite geopolitical rivalry, that acts as a “cementing” basis for the development of bilateral relations, given that the Russian Federation is Turkey’s second main trading partner, and trade between the two countries has grown from 6 to 40 billion in just a few years. US dollars [7, p. 141-142, 145], nevertheless, the “gas” agreement between the two countries is a landmark event worthy of at least mention in the framework of forecasting the foreign policy for 2015.

At the same time, against the background of ignoring the fact of the “gas” agreement as a fact of geostrategic rapprochement with the Russian Federation, the author recalls Ataturk’s foreign policy course, from which, by the way, a period of fundamentally new Turkish-Soviet and Turkish-Russian relations began, thereby involuntarily raising the issue about the convergence of the ideas of Kemalism and Eurasianism, which, according to Turkish political scientists, is logical and harmonious for Turkey [1]. Instead of a gas question, the author, using the rules and techniques of neurolinguistic programming, focuses readers’ attention on ideologemes of a different kind:

1) Cooling of relations with the West, in particular, with the EU.

2) The non-democratic nature of the Erdogan government. the argument is structured in such a way that the emphasis is on its authoritarianism with the subsequent formation of the effect of contrast with the democratic EU, with the EU playing the role of a justice of the peace: “the key here is the reaction of the West, in particular the EU , to the threatening transformation of Turkey into an authoritarian state ”; “ the current situation in Turkey is so authoritarian that it is time to think about how long this will be tolerated in the EU ” (our emphasis, M.B.) [8];

3) Complete disregard for the Iranian factor in Turkey’s foreign policy, which is contrary to reality, because Erdogan himself spoke about the need for closer cooperation, including in the field of international relations. Such suppression clearly speaks in favor of the tendentious nature of the material, given the failure of the West’s policy to impose its dictate on Turkey and Iran and, which is also important, against the background:

a) recognition of Iranian President Rouhani’s course towards normalization and rapprochement with the West as a failure [4];

b) the conclusion by Iran and the Russian Federation of the most important trade deal in order to reduce the burden on the Iranian economy due to sanctions imposed by the West;

c) the beginning of the formation of the “Eurasian troika” Russia-Turkey-Iran to stabilize and maintain security in the Middle East and the Caucasus, as well as the formation of the geopolitical agenda of these regions [6].

The architecture of the material is also important: the ideologeme related to the Russian Federation is located at the end of the article, which, from the point of view. textology is a strong position – the center of communication; from the standpoint of pragmatics and neuro-linguistic programming, this is a way of forming the reader’s main attitude to the trivial and even irrational nature of the rapprochement between Turkey and the Russian Federation, and, as a result, returning to Turkey’s usual Euro-Atlantic course, from which the Erdogan government is clearly starting to move away, which is actually the reason for such critical attitude of the author of the analyzed article to the policy of official Ankara.

Conclusions

suggesting operating with the point of view of an industry specialist, as a rule, from those who do not share the politics of the authorities, such as Mithat Balkan or a representative of the competing “Trans-Caspian project”, as columnist Borut Grgich. The tactics of pseudoscience also manifested itself through the mechanism of half-truth, when factual or statistical material was presented selectively. Also characteristic is the use of the image of Turkey as the antithesis of Russia or the demonization of Russia through the mechanism of agonal tactics in a diachronic aspect.

Another form of discrediting the Turkish Stream was an attempt to hush it up, followed by a shift in the focus and attention of readers to issues clearly related to Western political discourse: authoritarianism, violation of democratic norms. Also actively noted is the use of agonal tactics against Iran, as in the case of Russia, through an appeal to its image as a historical rival in the region.

Conducted analysis of the materials of the leading opposition media in Turkey Hyrriet Daily News and Today ‘s Zamansuggests that these publications play the role not so much of objective observers as of agents of influence of external forces, representing the implementation in Turkey of the “soft power” policy of all the same external forces. From the point of view of the teachings of Sun Tzu, such agents of influence can be classified as “local spies” – local residents of the enemy’s country [5, p. 109] (in our case, countries of influence), i.e. as traitors. This is exactly what Erdogan’s New Year’s speech was dedicated to – the search for and elimination of “traitors” [15; 16], which, judging by the expressiveness and agonal nature of constructions and stylistic turns in the analyzed articles, frightened their authors so much. However, the verbal intervention of the Turkish opposition media against the Turkish Stream confirms the well-known phrase: “If our enemies scold us, then we are doing everything right.”

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[1] Analysts of the Financial Times even classified Turkey as a “New Big Seven” along with the BRICS countries, Mexico and Indonesia [10].

[2] There has not been such a high share of natural gas in Turkey’s energy balance since 2012, when 43.2% of electricity was generated at the country’s gas-fired thermal power plants [14, p. 12].

[3] It is no coincidence that cooperation in the energy field has been and remains one of the driving forces for the development and strengthening of Turkish-Russian relations [7, p. 146].

[4] The environmental factor has long become an instrument of the West’s soft policy to curb the economic and geopolitical development of competitors on the world stage: as Regnum news agency notes, as soon as Moscow and Beijing start talking about the implementation of the Altai project, American environmentalists immediately raise the issue of protecting nature in the Altai Republic [22].

[5] Nevertheless, it is worth noting that, despite the tendentiousness and obvious custom nature aimed at discrediting President Erdogan, the material is not without common sense: 1) Ankara needs to reconsider diplomatic relations with Egypt, which has already had a detrimental effect on the Turkish economy (more on this see [2]); 2) Ankara needs to restart relations with the Arab world, because due to the inconsistent policy of moderate Islamism (support for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, from which the Arab countries distance themselves, especially one of the locomotives of the Arab world – Egypt), Turkey has actually isolated itself from the Arab world. However, the author, speaking about the policy of moderate Islamism of Erdogan, clearly smoothes the corners, because. is silent about the miscalculations of his government in the Syrian-Iraqi problem, as well as in relation to ISIS. Besides,

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