The EU needs to mend ties with Turkey to resolve its energy debacle with Russia! - LEVENT YILMAZ

The EU needs to mend ties with Turkey to resolve its energy debacle with Russia!

A new global era has been ushered in with the Russia-Ukraine War that erupted in late February. The global power struggle, which has for a long time been simmering through proxy conflicts, finally gave way to an all-out war this time. 

Of course, no other development could possibly be direr than the humanitarian tragedy that has unfolded during this conflict. Yet, the ramifications of the war on the global economy and energy policies negatively impact billions of people who are not a party to this conflict.

Energy prices skyrocketing

As I’ve previously mentioned in my columns on the subject of energy—even before Putin waged war against Ukraine—energy prices were expected to remain elevated for the foreseeable future: the main reason being the ongoing supply problem of energy commodities.

As policies to combat climate change reduced new fossil fuel investments, the balance between current demand and supply was disrupted. Long before the war broke out, JP Morgan had forecasted that oil prices in 2022 would hover around $125 per barrel.

EU's energy dependence on Russia

A pivotal issue that came to the fore as the war in Ukraine erupted was Continental Europe’s dependence on Russia when it comes to energy. In particular, the bloc’s reliance on Russian gas rendered it helpless when the time finally came to include energy in its sanctions package against Russia. Currently, Russia meets 42 percent of Europe’s natural gas needs. However, this figure is far from homogeneous. For example, Germany, the locomotive of Europe, meets 54 percent of its energy needs through Russia.

Energy chapter in EU-Turkey relations

This dependency is one of the biggest problems the EU currently faces. As I previously said, this issue came to the fore when the war erupted, but we’ve long known that European countries were on the lookout for alternatives and taking initiatives to reduce their dependency on Russia. 

I don't think there is anyone who disagrees behind closed doors that Turkey holds the key when it comes to solving this issue. But, of course, one would be remiss to overlook the fact that the bloc has surrendered to the puerile stances of the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) and Greece, especially when it comes to energy.

The energy chapter without preconditions during Turkey's EU accession process was halted by the Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece. Since, according to the bloc’s own laws, a member state has the right to veto negotiations to be carried out with candidate countries without having to offer any convincing reasons, the EU Council, which was unable to object to this, this time launched a ‘positive agenda’ process on eight chapters, including energy, to bypass the blockade in 2012. Additionally, “High-Level Energy Dialogue” talks started in 2015—which were also obstructed by the Greek Cypriot Administration in 2019.

The EU's last chance

I won’t beat around the bush or sugarcoat anything: the EU needs to rid itself of the hostile anti-Turkey policies imposed by the Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece as soon as possible. It may be the bloc’s last chance, especially on the issue of energy, to launch new initiatives in that field with Turkey, the only reliable country in the region in terms of both stability and energy supply security. Because had Turkey been a member of the EU, it would have made serious contributions to the bloc’s energy union, especially on natural gas, and the EU would not have found itself caught between a rock and a hard place!


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