Strategic country in energy - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

Strategic country in energy

The advantage its geographical location provides Turkey has started to become most prominent in the energy sector. A strategic advantage is in question. This advantage not only gives Turkey the opportunity to provide energy to meet its own needs at a reasonable cost, but also allows Turkey to shine in terms of security for the supply of energy to Europe and the Balkan countries.

Turkey serves as a bridge between countries that own energy resources, like some countries in the Caspian, the Middle East, the East Mediterranean, and the countries in Europe that demand energy. However, serving only as a bridge between the two sides is not enough for Turkey. I insist on this issue because, if Turkey uses its geographic advantage strategically, it will become a transit country and also become – and should become – a trade center for energy.

Because in the past we previously experienced that geographic location alone is not enough for the economic goals we want to achieve. Steps taken in the energy field will also increase Turkey's economic and political power in the region. Therefore, whatever the heading in the political and economic agenda, the unchangeable topic should always be energy.

Countries in the Caspian, the Middle East and East Mediterranean own two-thirds of energy resources. Europe is second on the list of energy consumption. A fixed point is needed to establish a secure relation between the two variables, the consumer and the producer.

Even if owning energy resources gives an important degree of wealth and strategy, it is more important that these energy resources are transported to the consumer countries. We saw how having energy resources alone was not enough for economic value in Iran's case.

Then there is the reality of natural gas prices changing accordingly after the drop in petroleum prices. In such a situation, becoming dominant in international competition and the expenses of the transportation route of natural gases being low, determines the competition between the countries that possess energy resources.

When the issue is perceived from this aspect, it is clear that the most secure and low cost transportation route of natural gas is possible via Turkey. Both the natural gas transported to Europe and the unrefined petroleum products transported through the Istanbul (Bosporus) and Çanakkale (Dardanelle) straits strengthen Turkey's role of being the center and transit route of energy trade.


BEING THE CENTER OF ENERGY TRADE

We are not the only ones to say this. Even those who drew up the energy balance in the past (and did not want to see Turkey in this balance) now accept and openly admit that Turkey has an important role in energy trade.

According to the report published by the U.S.'s Energy Information Administration (EIA), it is mentioned that Turkey has been an increasingly significant country in the transmission of oil and natural gas to Europe and that its strategic location is of great importance. Of course this report only mentions the transmission of these resources. Because this is what they expect and want. They want Turkey to be content with transmission alone.

However, it is clear that this should not be enough for Turkey and that this should be followed up like a national policy. Turkey is not only a transit country in energy but will also be an energy trade center.

This aim is not limited to natural gas only. The popularity of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is increasing by the day. There is a developing and increasing relationship between Turkey and Qatar, the world's biggest LNG exporter.

The development of relations and cooperation between Turkey and the other LNG countries as well will help Turkey become an energy trade center instead of only being a transit hub. The physical conditions and the infrastructure of terminals and depots to transmit LNG and turning liquid gases back into gas should be fast tracked.

If we are to talking about the aim of becoming a strategic country in energy, everything from energy resources to pipelines, from terminals to nuclear plants, from cooperation between countries to the stock markets and all variables in energy should take part in the system in a way that they will affect each other positively.

LNG, the natural gas pipelines, nuclear plants, the energy stock market are all milestones that will carry Turkey toward achieving its goal of becoming the center of energy trade.

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