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Turkey's Biggest Trump Card in the 21st Century

By Cemil Ozyurt - Countries that have taken steps toward development or that are developing have certain characteristics that differentiate them from other countries.  Japan is a country of islands with limited natural resources, and Korea a peninsula with the same lack of resources, and they have developed their strengths in technology. Italy has its fashion and design, Germany its heavy industry and engineering, Saudi Arabia its oil, Turkmenistan its natural gas, and the USA its production and consumption power.  These countries stand out.

So what does Turkey possess in order to make the necessary attempt for development in the 21st century?  Turkey is a country of textiles, but this is not sufficient to give it special status in the region.  As a matter of fact, countries that have been lately accepted to the EU, along with some developing countries such as Jordan, Egypt, and Pakistan, have shaken Turkey’s throne in this sector.  

Also, although auto-parts, iron-steel, or natural stone sectors all provide employment in great levels and are important for exports, Turkey cannot become special by relying only on these, because the technology necessary for automotive parts, and the raw materials for the steel and iron are provided from abroad.  As for becoming a country of natural stones or marble, there is no need to have a special quality.  Selling the stones that are readyly available in nature won’t make Turkey special.

Currently, the biggest trump card Turkey has, which would also enable it to excel in the 21st century, is energy.  Especially since renewable energy is now gaining more importance and countries around the world are implementing policies that would decrease oil dependency, alternative resources are being given priority.  Turkey has a great potential with regards to alternative energy resources.

As a matter of fact, in the energy plan for the years 2010 through 2014, increasing the usage of natural resources is among the first things on the list.  If the strategic plan can be implemented as desired, 30% of the energy Turkey produces will be coming from recyclables.  

In addition to the energy it would provide, Turkey is also a key country where pipelines that directly affect the world’s energy map pass through.  The Blue Stream (Mavi Akım) project that transports natural gas from Russia to Turkey through the passageway under  Black Sea; the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipline that carries the oil of Azerbajan and Kazakstan to the world; the Bosphorous and the Dardanelle Straits through which 4% of the oil used in the world get transported; the Baku-Tblisi-Erzurum pipline that is planned to be used to carry natural gas from Azerbajan, Turkmenistan and Kazakstan to the world; the NABUCCO pipeline that carries natural gas from the Caspian to Europe through Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, and Austria are all projects that have increased the impact Turkey has on the world’s energy policies.  As EU countries have turned to NABUCCO in order to avoid Russia’s Gazprom, Turkey has served as a bridge between the two continents and become the key country in NABUCCO.

There are plans to build natural gas pipelines between Turkey, Greece, and Italy, which would transport natural gas from Iran and Iraq to Europe, another project Turkey plans to bring into life in the future.

All of these routes and projects put Turkey in the forefront due to its geography.  If Turkey can rise as a powerful country in the world in the 21st century, energy will be the strength behind this.  Turkey would, meanwhile, keep producing textile materials, spare parts, and steel and iron; however, in order to strike and rise up to the upper level, it would inevitably have to adjust its energy policies in the right direction.

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07