1/9/2008

Turkey's role in European energy security emphasized

The New Anatolian - Turkey and the EU should develop a strategic energy cooperation plan, not just for pipelines but also for renewables, energy efficiency and market liberalisation, according to Katinka Barysch of the Centre for European Reform. Insisting that the EU must unblock accession talks with Ankara in the energy area if it is serious about diversifying its supply, the December 2007 paper by Katinka Barysch from the Center for European Reform (CER) claims that Turkey can make a ''substantial contribution" to Europe's energy security. Barysch argues that as the EU frets over its dependence on Russia, "Turkey's development as a European energy hub looks natural", with vast oil and gas reserves lying in the countries to its east and one of the world's biggest energy markets to its west. “Energy policy cooperation would give Europe a reliable alternative supply route and offer Turkey the opportunity to prove that it is an indispensable partner for the EU” Barysch says. She believes that better connections with both supplier countries and energy consumers would increase Turkey's geopolitical standing and generate "lucrative business" such as transit fees aswell as new refineries, terminals and trading facilities. The Bosphorus strait and its key location for pipeline development at a time when the EU is seeking to find new suppliers androutes for oil and gas help Turkey's bid to become a major European energy hub, Barysch argues. However, the fulfilment of this potential depends on a "mind bogglingly complicated array of factors", she warns, citing the Nabucco pipeline as an important "test case" for both EU and Turkish energy policy and an opportunity to prove that "cooperation and integration are good for both sides".