Turkey becomes an energy hub


Although cli­mate change does not hold an impor­tant place in the Turk­ish domes­tic debate, the envi­ron­men­tal­ist groups crit­i­cised the results of the Copen­hagen meet­ing, which has been per­ceived as a dis­ap­point­ment regard­ing the EU’s efforts in envi­ron­men­tal issues. It has been argued that the fail­ure of the Copen­hagen Accord is main­ly due to the devel­oped west­ern coun­tries’ aloof atti­tude towards cli­mate change and the envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems that peo­ple are fac­ing.11Kopenhag’dan son­ra umut ‘yer­el lid­er­lerde’, 21 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.radikal.com.tr/Radikal.aspx?aType=RadikalDetay&ArticleID=970395&Date=11.04.2010&CategoryID=85 (last access: 31 May 2010). It has been argued by civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions and the envi­ron­men­tal­ist groups that the dead­lock has been cre­at­ed because of big mar­ket econ­o­my coun­tries, such as the USA, Chi­na and India, refus­ing to sign a bind­ing agree­ment which may affect their eco­nom­ic growth and inter­ests in a glob­al cri­sis sit­u­a­tion. Also, it has been debat­ed that the devel­op­ing coun­tries’ requests regard­ing fund­ing and tech­no­log­i­cal assis­tance have not been wel­comed by devel­oped coun­tries, includ­ing EU mem­ber states.22Ser­taç Aktan: Türkiye Kopenhag’da her­han­gi bir hedef açık­la­may­a­cak, avail­able at: http://www.iha.com.tr/haber/detay.aspx?nid=101163&cid=758 (last access: 31 May 2010).

Energy policy

Regard­ing ener­gy poli­cies, Turkey empha­sised the inse­cu­ri­ty that is cre­at­ed by over-depen­den­cy on a sin­gle source and, there­fore, Turkey has been active in ener­gy rela­tions with its neigh­bours in recent years to diver­si­fy its ener­gy resources as much as pos­si­ble. This is not done only to secure its ener­gy sup­plies, but it is also per­ceived that an increased Turk­ish role in the region regard­ing the ener­gy pipelines and agree­ments would increase Turkey’s role in Euro­pean secu­ri­ty. It is a fact that today the EU is pro­duc­ing less than its con­sump­tion and there is an urgent need to focus on an ener­gy secu­ri­ty and sol­i­dar­i­ty action plan for infra­struc­ture needs, diver­si­fi­ca­tion of sup­plies, exter­nal ener­gy rela­tions, oil and gas stocks, cri­sis response mech­a­nisms, best use of indige­nous resources, and ener­gy effi­cien­cy. In this frame­work, the geo-polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion of Turkey has been per­ceived not only as an impor­tant asset in secur­ing ener­gy sup­ply for Europe, but also as a cru­cial tool for increas­ing Turkey’s say in ener­gy poli­cies in the region even though it is not an ener­gy pro­duc­ing coun­try. There are dif­fer­ent views on Turkey’s poli­cies in rela­tion to the EU poli­cies. One of the argu­ments is that Turkey’s pol­i­cy is not in line with the EU’s expec­ta­tions because Turkey realised that this can be a bar­gain­ing chip in its rela­tions with the EU. On the oth­er hand, it is argued that the pipeline projects such as Baku-Tiflis-Cey­han (BTC), Nabuc­co, and Sam­sun-Cey­han show that Turkey’s sup­ply sources are diver­si­fied geo­graph­i­cal­ly, rang­ing from west to east and north to south, and diver­si­fied in terms of the type of sup­ply as well, i.e., liq­ue­fied nat­ur­al gas (LNG), oil, gas and nat­ur­al gas. There­fore, Turkey’s main pol­i­cy is the ener­gy hub pol­i­cy which is demon­strat­ed through Turkey’s efforts to link Turk­ish pipelines with Euro­pean ones, i.e., Turkey-Greece-Italy. The main pol­i­cy in this frame­work has been increas­ing the use of poten­tial in Iran, Iraq, Turk­menistan and Shah Deniz, although polit­i­cal prob­lems in the region are pre­vent­ing faster cooperation.

Turk­ish pri­or­i­ties in ener­gy poli­cies have been iden­ti­fied as secure sup­ply and sus­tain­abil­i­ty, com­pet­i­tive mar­ket cre­ation and being an ener­gy cor­ri­dor. It is dif­fi­cult to see any diver­gences between the oppo­si­tion and the gov­ern­ment sides regard­ing these pri­or­i­ties. How­ev­er, regard­ing nuclear ener­gy, there are some oppos­ing views from the envi­ron­men­tal­ist groups and civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions due to the pol­lu­tion that would be cre­at­ed by the nuclear ener­gy ter­mi­nals. How­ev­er, the gov­ern­ment has been active in inten­si­fy­ing its rela­tions, espe­cial­ly with Rus­sia, to increase the num­ber of nuclear pow­er plants in Turkey.

One of the main poli­cies of Turkey, which had been wide­ly dis­cussed in May 2010, was the agree­ment between Iran, Turkey and Brazil to send 1,200 kilo­grams of low-enriched ura­ni­um to Turkey as part of an exchange for more refined nuclear mate­r­i­al from oth­er coun­tries. Accord­ing to the agree­ment Iran will ship its low enriched ura­ni­um to Turkey in exchange for 20-per­cent ura­ni­um under a nuclear fuel swap. This has been per­ceived as demon­stra­tion of Turkey’s efforts to act as a bridge between east and west by using its geopo­lit­i­cal, iden­ti­ty relat­ed, cul­tur­al and reli­gious assets.

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.