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The EU-Turkey Energy Relations After the 2014 Ukraine Crisis. Enhancing The Partnership in a Rapidly Changing Environment 17 septembre 2014

Posted by Acturca in Energy / Energie, EU / UE, Middle East / Moyen Orient, Russia / Russie, Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Nota di Lavoro (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei) 75.2014

Simone Tagliapietra *

Over the last two decades energy has emerged as an increasingly important component of the overall EU-Turkey relations. In particular, the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) and its flagship project, Nabucco, soon became the pivotal element of the EU-Turkey energy relations. After years of strong cooperation, the failure of Nabucco and the emergence of TANAP have ultimately outlined a divergence in the way the EU and Turkey perceive not only the SGC but also their energy relations. This divergence represents a serious risk for the strategic interests of both the EU and Turkey, and for this reason there is a need to rethink the EU-Turkey energy relations. This need is now particularly urgent, as the market and political environment on which Nabucco was conceptualized is rapidly changing, potentially opening up new opportunities of energy cooperation for the EU and Turkey. On the supply side, new major gas reserves have been discovered in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and in offshore Israel, while on the demand side the unprecedented political standoff between the Western world and Russia resulted by the 2014 Ukraine crisis might reinvigorate the EU’s quest to diversify its gas supply portfolio. These developments can potentially converge to reshape the EU-Turkey energy relations. In fact, in this scenario the SGC could eventually gain a new momentum, with the gas reserves of the KRI and Israel as primary target. However, after the failure of Nabucco the unconditional support of Turkey should not be taken for granted by the EU, as the country might prefer to secure its own energy supply on a bilateral basis with gas producing countries. In order to avoid the risk of a further fragmentation of the SGC, a new “EU-Turkey Natural Gas Initiative” -such as the one proposed in this paper- seems to be urgently needed, for the benefit of both the EU and Turkey.

* Simone Tagliapietra is Researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Research Fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center (IPC).

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