One day after Turkey handed over the fugitive officer of armed forces who is wanted by Algerian justice, Guermite Bounouira, the official Turkish Anadolu news agency reported that an Algerian ship loaded with gas arrived, on Wednesday, at the Turkish port of Marmaris.
The ship is “Lalla Fatma Nsoumer”, which carries the Bahamas flag, and it started from the port of “Arzew” on August 1, loaded with about 144.888 cubic meters of gas, to the port of Marmaris in Mugla state, southwestern Turkey.
The two events’ coincidence is an indication of the direction of the Algerian-Turkish relations towards further strengthening, not only in terms of trade, economic and investment exchanges, but it can also be a catalyst for bringing the views closer, on some of the crucial regional issues for Algeria, led by the Libyan crisis, which threatens security in the Maghreb, North Africa and the Sahel region.
On the economic and investment fronts, Turkish investments have become more troublesome for some countries, foremost of which is France, which views Algeria as a vital field and a strategic region, which falls within its sphere of influence and a traditional market for its products, due to the prominent Turkish presence alongside China, the traditional partner.
In Relizane (western Algeria), there is the largest textile factory in Africa, which is the fruit of Turkish investment, and not far from Relizane there is the “Tosyali” iron and steel factory in Oran, which is also the fruit of a successful Algerian-Turkish partnership, and the large activity of Turkish companies in the areas of infrastructure, housing and construction, Public works, and water resources.
There is also a joint project between Sonatrach and the Turkish “Renaissance Holding”, in the petrochemical sector, which will take place in the state of Adana, southern Turkey, and production will begin in July 2021, a project that allows Sonatrach to export 450.000 tons of propane gas to this plant, as raw material for the production of Polypropylene, which is a raw material for plastic, used in the automotive, textile and pharmacy industries.
However, the most important of all is the gas agreement concluded between the two countries, which was extended by five years (until 2024), during the visit that led Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Algeria earlier this year, an agreement that is of great importance, because it came at a time when the Algerian gas market in Europe is suffering from a suffocating crisis, due to the flow of American gas at prices that reach half the price of Algerian gas exported to the largest importer of this energy material, which is Spain, which took advantage of this data to pressure Algeria to review gas prices that are specified in the bilateral agreement in advance.
Turkey relies on multiple sources to supply natural gas, and at the top of this source is Russia, but the renewal of the agreement ending in October 2019 allowed Algeria to increase its share of gas exports to Turkey (from 4 to 5.4 billion cubic meters), or 38% of what Turkey imports from abroad, just as this agreement gave Algeria an outlet it desperately needed, to market its gas at a time of severe financial crisis, due to the drop of oil prices in global markets.