Turkey a 'bridge' between energy producers, consumers
10 Jul 2017 - 23:30
By Diyar Guldogan & Handan Kazanci / Anadolu Agency
ISTANBUL: Turkey is a "natural bridge" between energy producers and consumers due to its geopolitical position, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
Erdogan, delivering an address in Istanbul to the 22nd World Petroleum Congress -- a major meeting of the international oil and gas industry -- said the country was being referred to the “Silk Road of energy”.
The Turkish president also said its external dependence on energy should be reduced to ensure sustainable development and the best use of its domestic resources.
Erdogan said in order to meet an energy demand which could double in the next 10 years, Turkey will include an additional 50,000 megawatts of additional power to its system by 2023.
On nuclear energy, Erdogan said Turkey had started accelerating its investments.
"When Akkuyu and Sinop nuclear power plants become operational, we will meet at least 10 percent of our energy needs from here," he said.
The Turkish president said the country wanted to start construction of the Sinop project "as soon as possible".
Turkey plans to build three nuclear power plants, the first at Akkuyu in Mersin province; the second at Sinop. The third plant's location has not yet been announced.
Erdogan said Turkey wanted its energy to be “a source of peace and welfare, not destruction, tension and dispute".
He also said the chaos and turmoil caused by terrorist organizations in the energy hinterlands made cooperation between countries a necessity.
"The security of energy resources depends on the elimination of terrorist organizations," he added.
'Great opportunity missed in Cyprus'
Referring to recent Cyprus reunification talks which ended without without success in Switzerland, Erdogan said: “Unfortunately, a great opportunity was missed in the Eastern Mediterranean last week.”
Erdogan blamed the Greek Cypriot side for the breakdown in negotiations. He also mentioned the Southern Cyprus’s hydrocarbon explorations.
“International law requires that hydrocarbon sources [in the island] belong to all parties in the island.
“Our expectation from those who are part in the developments in Cyprus is to avoid steps that might lead to new strains in the region,” Erdogan added.
Despite disputes, the Greek Cypriot administration has continued to unilaterally open new tenders for hydrocarbon explorations without any collaboration with Turkish Cypriots.
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
Erdogan calls for dialogue on Qatar crisis
About the ongoing crisis surrounding Qatar, Erdogan said: “We have already done as much as we can to ease the tension about Qatar, and we will continue to do so. We do not want any crisis in the region.
“The world and our region no longer needs conflict but cooperation, unity and peace."
An ongoing crisis in inter-Arab relations peaked on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen all abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Doha, accusing it of meddling in their domestic affairs and supporting terrorist groups.
Erdogan later met visiting heads of state in a closed meeting at the Mabeyn presidential pavilion.
Also addressing the congress earlier was Prime Minister Binali Yildirim who said: “As Turkey, the ultimate aim of our energy policies is to ensure the peace and well-being of our nation by increasing energy security, [and its] diversity.”
Yildirim said Turkey also gave great importance to the energy security of neighboring countries -- both their producers and consumers.
"Energy security can only be ensured through a cooperative and coherent method of struggle," he added.
High-level executives from leading energy companies and up to 50 energy ministers will be attending the Istanbul congress.
The gathering, of which Anadolu Agency is the global communication partner, will run until Thursday.