Sami Andoura (IstitutoAffariInternazionali)
Given the constantly rising energy consumption, the European Union must look for other sources to ensure its energy security. In this regard, Turkey appears to be a strategic partner. In the case of both actors, one can observe ongoing efforts to align their markets and regulations in the pursuit of their common interests: accessibility, energy security, and sustainable growth. The difference between the two lies in the economic development, as the Turkish economy is growing at a much faster pace than the EU average. In order to sustain this growth rate, Turkey needs sufficient energy sources for the country heavily depends –just like the EU – on imports. To put it into a wider perspective, Turkey’s gas market is the fastest growing globally.
For the EU, Turkey is essential mainly in the area of the diversification of gas supplies. It is obvious that in light of the tensions in the East, Russia is not considered a reliable and stable trade partner. Thanks to its strategic geopolitical position, Turkey has the opportunity to become an important transit country with all the advantages and disadvantages that such a role brings. Turkey is indeed aware of the fact that the construction of the Eastern Corridor would strengthen its position and prestige vis-à-vis the EU and its Member States. Both sides thus face a number of challenges: to secure suppliers and ensure supplies, to create an appropriate legal framework and competition with other important actors while also building mutual trust between both partners, Turkey and the EU. The last point is crucial here. The EU and Turkey must strive to develop much better relations than those that exist today. However, this rapprochement brings on a number of other issues, such as Turkey’s membership in the EU.
While both Turkey and the EU have introduced a number of regulations in the area of fossil fuels supplies, they differ in their strategies. But the single biggest obstacle is undoubtedly the lack of trust that underscores the mutual relationship. On the other hand, both players must realize that their further cooperation is absolutely indispensable for ensuring energy security. The price that both will ultimately have topay for this lack of trust couldbe very high.