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.
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.
European Union / Turkey / EU enlargement / Natural gas / Pipelines
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).
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?