The energy strategy of Heydar Aliyev

The energy strategy of Heydar Aliyev

If Heydar Aliyev was alive today, he would be 93 years old; 13 years have already gone by since he passed away.

It would not be groundless to state that the works composing the roadmap of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Alliance Project envisaged during his decade-long presidency in Azerbaijan constitute the cornerstone of the policies being implemented today. 

On the 93rd anniversary of his birth, I would like to commemorate Aliyev for his energy strategy, since the energy strategy he designed built the basis of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) today. And if Turkey became gradually the heart of Eurasia in the field of energy, it should not be forgotten it was thanks to Aliyev.

The energy projects implemented from yesterday to today between Baku and Ankara have bore the fruit of Aliyev’s energy strategy. The foundation of these projects had been laid through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline. Aliyev aimed to realize all energy projects together with Turkey. This goal broadened Turkey’s horizons to be positioned as an energy basin in the region.

The Azerbaijani state oil company (SOCAR) is the most superlative example of it. The Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) is the breakthrough investment of this epoch. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Railway Project is a source of pride for Eurasia. All these investments and projects have been foundation stones for the future relations of both countries. The solidarity constituted between Azerbaijan and Turkey has been his masterpiece.

Azerbaijan is Turkey’s largest foreign investment partner today. SOCAR, for example, has an investment worth $20 billion to be made between Azerbaijan and Turkey by 2018. The Star Refinery, to be constructed as a consequence of the most important joint project taking place between both sides, will save billions of dollars.

By means of this project, the refinery will provide petro-chemistry, energy, logistics and integration of distribution, thus becoming one of the largest scaled investments in the history of the Turkish Republic
Within the framework of a giant project, PETKİM Peninsula is going to achieve the position of the first chemical industry park on the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

TANAP - as the most cardinal part of the SGC and with a project cost expected to stand at $10 billion - is the new rising star of the giant partnership composed between Azerbaijan and Turkey. Via TANAP, the natural gas departing from Azerbaijan to Anatolia over Georgia will cross through Turkey from east to west, reach its 1850-km length to Europe by 2018 and end in the heart of Europe by being integrated into Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

I would like to point out that Turkey possesses a 12 percent stake in the TANAP Project, which is expected to meet the energy needs of Europe by means of Azeribaijani gas, and it has a 20percent stake in TAP as well.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway is another example of a joint business. Through this project, not only will the Caucasus be integrated with Europe but also Central Asia. All these projects cover a short period of time, yet are a harbinger of a fruitful future.

The long and the short of it is that Aliyev was indeed the architect of the energy projects which have built the cooperation taking place between Azerbaijan and Turkey through the implementation of great works of this century.   

*Dr. Akkan Suver is the president of the Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation