mathias depardon

Straddling Europe and Asia, the Black Sea links north to south and east to west. Bound by Crimea, Ukraine and the Caucasus, the Black Sea is a body of water shared by Turkey and Russia.  It has undergone countless political transformations over time. Some say the region is now coming into its own - but it remains a contested and politically complex neighborhood that is home to deep national fault lines. 

This reflects the changing dynamics of the Black Sea countries and the complex realities of their politics and conflicts, economies and societies. Geography, foreign interest in the region and the area's relationship with the rest of the world are key to explaining its ongoing resurgence. Oil, gas, transport and trade routes are all crucial in explaining its increasing relevance. 

Since 2015, Ankara has been questioning its historic alliance with the West and moving tangibly closer to Moscow in terms of energy and military policies. Erdogan and Putin see their nations as bridging Europe and Asia. The Black Sea along with the TurkStream, a strategic gas pipeline running along the seabed, is at the center of this geography. 

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