Turkey’s energy initiative
We now see that Turkey is engaged in an energy initiative. On one hand, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is focusing on energy in his contacts in Africa; on the other hand, we see that while the Energy Minister is protecting current energy resources, he is also engaged in an effort to find new source countries.
We can regard all of these efforts as Turkey’s attempts to secure its long-term supplies; however, while doing that, we also need to emphasize that Turkey needs to better take care of international equilibriums and play more rationally in the huge and complicated game of energy.
It can even be observed that the radical steps in energy policies, in a way, increase efforts for a solution to the domestic Kurdish issue. It is especially obvious that the most important reason for the warm relations set up with the Northern Iraqi administration recently, the one which we had been experiencing problems with for a long time, is the mutual relationship of interest based on energy. It is remarkable that while the dispute between the Northern Iraqi administration and Iraqi central government builds up, Turkey is standing beside Northern Iraq. It is expected that in possible clashes between Northern Iraq and the Iraqi central government, Turkey will take the side of Northern Iraq, at least having moderated its Kurdish issue to a certain extent. Also, Turkey’s good relations with Sunni Arabs and Turkmens in Iraq disturb the Iraqi central government. Actually, we can also say that this relationship not only disturbs the Iraqi central government but also Iran and even the United States.
There, in this complicated network of relations, Turkey needs to play this energy-based game with Northern Iraq much more carefully.
It is obvious that the United States meets Turkey’s efforts in Northern Iraq with caution. Not only that, discomfort the United States feels over Turkey’s closeness with Iran is also obvious. It is known that gold exports to Iran, which contributed to this year’s foreign trade, have been on U.S. radars and that measures are being taken to prevent it. There have also been reactions to Turkey’s continued import of energy from Iran.
We can consider it proof of how much “the energy game is complicated and to be played with maximum caution,” that in this game Turkey is on one hand advancing its relations with Northern Iraq and consenting to the deterioration of its relations with Iran, while on the other hand continuing its energy trade with Iran despite reactions from the U.S.
In the energy game that Turkey has taken initiatives on recently, we can see that it not only targets the security of energy supplies but is also becoming an energy producer. It has been seen trying to explore and drill new oil and natural gas in Northern Iraq and Iraq’s Arabic-Sunni regions. Turkey is also trying to become an oil producer in Libya and is to attempt energy exploration and drilling activities inside Africa.
Indeed, all these steps are beneficial steps with regard to the future of the country. However, it should not be forgotten that these steps also hold the probability of taking you not forward but backward; these steps should be taken consciously and at the right time.