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U.K heralds energy corridor

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U.K heralds energy corridor

Postby zan » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:48 am

U.K heralds energy corridor

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ANKARA - Referans

Calling for urgent progress on Turkey's accession to the European Union, a British report advises EU politicians to start scrambling to make headway in Turkey's development as an alternative energy hub for the continent.

A report published by the British House of Commons in late June, well before the crisis broke out, revealed the growing strategic importance of Turkey as the major energy gateway alternative for Europe. The House of Commons urged the British government to push for the opening of energy routes through Turkey by scheduling talks on EU accession as quickly as possible.

“Although Turkey, itself, is heavily dependent upon imported energy from Russia and Iran, it has great potential as an energy hub, or gateway, for the European Union, not least because of its strategic position, bordering eight other countries in the region,” said the report, entitled “Keeping the door wide open: Turkey and EU accession.”

Reminding readers that Turkey is a natural hub situated between several vital energy suppliers and consumers of 71% of the world's proven gas and 73% of oil resources, the report emphasized a potentially large role for Turkey in maintaining future EU energy security.

Security of supply key inspiration for membership

Lord Digby Jones, British Minister of State for Trade and Investment, said in the report that the security of the energy supply was one of the reasons why he was very enthusiastic about Turkey joining the EU as quickly as possible.

According to the report, Turkey's full membership would provide a stable market framework within which EU companies can ship gas to customers in the EU at competitive prices. This could also improve access to these resources and their safe transportation into the rest of the EU by further securing the sections of the routes that pass through Turkey.

Since Turkey's accession to the EU still remains a distant target, the House of Commons pointed to the opening of the energy chapter in the ongoing negotiations as an urgent goal.

“We recommend that the Government pushes for the energy chapter of the accession talks to be opened this year and to be rapidly progressed,” said the report.

The energy chapter, although it is not among the eight chapters suspended due to Ankara's resistance to open ports to Cypriot vessels, is subject to Nicosia's blockage. Cyprus has not given consent to open this chapter because Ankara disputes its plan to drill offshore within its territorial waters. However France, which holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, is anxious to open energy chapter discussions during its term.

Although the report praised Turkey's role, Ankara's position on the Nabucco project was somehow criticized, referring to the views of one analyst who said, “Turkey has occasionally been undermining its own claim of being an energy bridge by making exaggerated demands.”

Last year, Ankara raised objections with the EU in talks over the Nabucco project, rejecting a transit regime and, rather, opting for a role as a seller of energy bought at a lesser price on its eastern frontiers.

Prior to the emergency summit of the European leaders in Brussels on Monday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the West would not be held hostage by Russia, in an article published in the Observer on Sunday. Brown argued for more funding to build a pipeline from the Caspian Sea carrying gas through Turkey to the West, thus avoiding the traditional route through Russia and its satellites.
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