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Global Turkey in Europe

 

EU-Turkish Energy Relations in the Context of EU Accession Negotiations: Focus on Natural Gas

by David Koranyi and NicolÚ Sartori


GTE Working Paper No. 5
3 December 2013
Pages 8

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Document prepared for the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in the context of the IAI-Istanbul Policy Center-Mercator Foundation project "Turkey, Europe and the World", December 2013.

Abstract
The European Union (EU) and Turkey have been on a divergent path over the past five years, but energy security is one of those sectors where the two partners would clearly benefit from closer cooperation. This paper explores energy relations between Turkey and the EU in the context of EU accession talks, focusing on natural gas as a strategic component of these relations. Turkey is in an ambiguous situation when it comes to its role as a strategic transit hub for energy supplies to Europe due to its strong geographic location on the one hand and its heavy dependence on gas imports on the other. As Turkey's decision-makers are squeezed to secure additional quantities of gas supplies, short-term political and economic considerations (securing price discounts) often trump strategic considerations. The EU is to a large degree responsible for pushing Turkey into such a position. The continuous stalling and ambiguity on the part of the EU as regards the opening of the energy chapter of Turkey's accession negotiations may encourage a less cooperative energy policy from Ankara that is in the interests of no member state. At the same time, Turkish foot-dragging on the Energy Community further precludes elevating EU-Turkish energy cooperation to a more strategic level. Ankara should recognize that thinking long-term, acceding to the Energy Community and thus adopting the energy acquis at the earliest possible occasion will ultimately benefit Turkey and act as a safeguard against regional suppliers abusing their dominant positions, without undermining Turkey's negotiating positions with Brussels on eventual EU membership.

Keywords
European Union / Turkey / EU enlargement / Natural gas / Pipelines


Author(s)
David Koranyi is Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Washington.
NicolÚ Sartori is Researcher in the Security and Defence Department at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI).


Contents
Introduction: The State of EU-Turkey Relations
1. Turkey's Energy Policy
2. Energy and Negotiations with the EU
3. The Southern Gas Corridor: A Test Case for EU-Turkish Energy Cooperation
4. Turkey's Role as Strategic Gas Transit Corridor to the EU in Jeopardy?
Conclusions


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