Turkey accelerates efforts for energy cooperation with Europe
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 10 held a phone conversation with Austrian Prime Minister Karl Nehammer and discussed the issue of increasing cooperation in the field of energy as the two countries have further potential to serve as a hub throughout Europe.
Erdoğan drew attention to the strategic nature of transporting the energy resources in the Caspian basin and the eastern Mediterranean to Europe via Turkey. He noted that Turkey could increase its cooperation with Austria, an important distribution hub of Europe in the field of natural gas.
Erdoğan welcomed the developing high-level contact recently between Turkey and Austria. The sensitivity to be displayed regarding the welfare and peace of the Turkish community in Austria, which constitutes the strongest human bond between the two countries, will reinforce the current positive atmosphere, he added.
Erdogan stated that Ankara continues to do its best to establish peace between Russia and Ukraine.
The president also reiterated his expectation that the established mechanisms of Turkey-EU relations will be reoperated, concrete progress will be made in the visa liberalization process, new chapters will be opened and negotiations for the updating of the Customs Union will begin without delay.
The phone conversation comes as Turkey stepped up to revive projects to transport natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean through Turkish territory to the European continent.
Ankara says the most commercially viable alternative to transfer natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe is the Turkish route.
The government has initiated energy dialogue primarily with Israel after the EastMed, a 1,900-kilometer pipeline project which aimed to carry the gas to Europe bypassing both Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, was completely shelved.
Relations between Turkey and Austria had been strained in the previous years when Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives were in a coalition government. Turkey and Austria had disagreements over a host of issues, including Vienna’s stance towards migrants and its opposition to Ankara’s technically ongoing but effectively all but collapsed EU membership bid.
On Oct. 9 last year, Sebastian Kurz stepped down as the Austrian chancellor amid a corruption probe.