European Politics and Institutions


Turkish energy policy: a 360° approach

30 May 2011

Amanda Paul, EPC Policy Analyst, said that Turkey’s dynamic energy policy includes substantial efforts to diversify its energy sources and routes given that Turkey also remains heavily dependent on Russia for its gas supplies. Turkey is key to many EU energy security projects from the Caspian and Middle East region, including the much-discussed Nabucco project.

Keynote speaker Sefa Sadık Aytekin, Deputy Undersecretary for the Turkish Ministry of Energy, said the priorities for Turkey’s energy policy were safe, secure, sustainable and affordable energy sources. An attractive investment climate was needed for this investment, including diversification and inter-regional gas trade. The two main components of Turkish energy policy are sustainability and secure energy, as well as contributing to the energy security of Europe and beyond. The three main drivers underneath this are rapid growth in demand, high level of import dependency, and potential improvements to energy efficiency.

Georgette Lalis, Director, Directorate A, DG Energy, European Commission, stressed that the EU and Turkey need each other. There were new challenges for energy including energy security and climate change. The EU is actively responding to challenges in the 2020 strategy with an energy strategy focusing on five pillars: promoting energy efficiency, ensuring free flow of energy with safe infrastructure, secure and safe supply of energy, innovation and making better use of EU’s geopolitical weight.  Turkey is of great geostrategic relevance with potential for renewable energy as well as becoming a bridge between regions. Nabucco is of strategic importance.  

Maxim Buyakevich, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the EU, said that the relationship between Turkey and Russia has been widening and Turkey is one of Russia’s biggest clients for gas. The South Stream project is of the highest priority for Russia and should be able to be implemented soon, but Russia is ready to supply gas to Turkey through any pipeline.  Russia is also active in Turkey’s nuclear sector. It is important to depoliticise projects like South Stream and Nabucco – both pipelines could supply the EU.

Vladmir Socor, Senior Research Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, stated that the Nabucco pipeline has been postponed repeatedly, but is better than competitors such as TAP and ITGI. He applauded the Commission and President of the EU for reaching out to Turkmenistan after many years. Once Turkmenistan decided to diversify away from Russia this opened the door for Turkey to become a major transit country. Turkmenistan has made it clear that the gas would be for Nabucco and not for TAP or IGTI. South Stream is an anti-Nabucco project, which lacks credibility. Russia has not identified gas resources or funding sources for South Stream.

In this programme