The 23rd World Energy Conference has taken place in Istanbul bringing together the actors of the energy sector. The identities of these actors are very different; presidents, ministers of energy, representatives from the private sector, academics and think tanks. We are talking about actors separate from each other, yet are linked in some way.
The conference being spread out to five days, the number of different topics being discussed, the length of the conference and the diversity of the participants have made this conference even more important. Among all this diversity, Turkey stands with an advantage.
Turkey moving toward becoming an energy hub has been accepted by all the major actors in the field. Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the president of an area which has the most energy reserves, has clearly pointed to Turkey as the center of energy.
But what happened in the period between when certain groups were against Turkey becoming the center of energy hoping this issue would stay discreet and the issue being carried on to an international platform?
Turkey's location is its greatest advantage toward becoming an energy hub. Besides its location, there is the TANAP project. The Turkish Stream Project can be added to this, since it was signed during the conference.
By turning its location advantage in to a geopolitical benefit through these projects, Turkey is advancing toward being a country that provides energy supply security, a transit for the energy transfer and a trade hub in this sense.
Putin's emphasis on the “energy hub” and Turkey during the signing ceremony clearly shows the point the issue has reached.
Turkey is geographically the closest country to countries with two-thirds of the world's energy. And Turkey is the country that transfers this energy and mediates during this process. Meaning, Turkey might not be a supplier of energy, but Turkey is in the forefront of transporting and transferring this energy to the world market.
Frankly, the new word in the energy market is “transfer.” Which means that transferring these resources to the markets will ensure the energy supply security of many countries especially EU countries. This energy being transferred to Europe via Turkey will ensure integration and cooperation between all countries.
Turkey aims to become an important transit point in the “Silk Road” Project (just like it was in the past), which will be shaped during this period too.
New countries will join the energy chain
The Turkish Stream Project has been signed, while the TANAP Project continues. The underlying point of projects starting, accelerating and finally ending is that new countries will join the energy chain.
Regional countries will develop new energy projects. We all know Iran has a desire to enter the international markets with its energy resources. So too does Turkmenistan. The only way out for the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is exporting its energy resources.
An important part of this chain is the resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. The motivation to solve the personal issues among themselves in order to enter international markets will contribute to Turkey successfully going through this period of becoming an energy hub.
What needs to be done to become an energy hub?
Turkey's aim to become an energy hub does not consist of being a regional trade center alone. We are talking about a global scale energy center. During this period, supplying countries have started big projects to transfer this energy.
Therewithal, the investments to store the natural gas should accelerate, too. The markets need to be liberalized in order for short term agreements to take place instead of long term agreements to meet the increasing supply.
Important opportunities arise for Turkey to become the center of energy, to become an important corridor between the East and the West, and to become an actor in this field. These opportunities also point to a change in the energy equation.
The main motto of the 23rd World Energy Conference, “To embrace new horizons,” actually shows us that we are on the eve of change. While a new energy equation is being made, Turkey is an important and irreplaceable variation of this equation.
Therefore, Turkey should welcome this opportunity and make the most of it with economic and political stability.