Recently, Bruegel, a European think tank specializing in economics, published a very significant paper on the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). This paper tells us of the future economic policy of territories spanning from the Caucasus to Europe, including the Middle East and Turkey, through energy, saying, "In the last decade, the failure of the Nabucco pipeline project, combined with EU vagueness about the opening of the accession process' energy chapter, has brought EU-Turkey energy relations to a dead-end. This situation is in the strategic interest of neither the EU nor Turkey. A coherent and actively coordinated strategy on the SGC could allow the two players to strengthen gas cooperation with Azerbaijan (to date the only prospective supplier of the SGC) and to open new, realistic, cooperation avenues with other potential suppliers in the region: Turkmenistan, Iran and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).
The EU and Turkey share considerable geopolitical synergies in the region, that if accurately exploited might help unlock future gas exports from the region to their respective markets. If each potential supplier contributes 10 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y) by 2025-2030, the corridor might ultimately be expanded to 50 bcm/y; a significant order of magnitude for EU gas markets, most notably for southern and eastern European markets.
But how can the EU secure such a "proactive transition?" First of all, the EU should establish dedicated energy diplomacy task forces with Turkey and with each potential supplier. This would allow the EU and Turkey to make full use of complementary diplomatic leverages in the region, and thus to ensure that barriers halting regional gas trade are overcome. The four task forces (EU-Turkey-Azerbaijan; EU-Turkey-Turkmenistan; EU-Turkey-Iran; EU-Turkey-KRI) would represent the key pillars of a new EU-Turkey strategic gas partnership.
In parallel to energy diplomacy, the EU and Turkey should establish a dedicated financing mechanism for gas infrastructure investments, with a primary focus on upgrading the Turkish gas grid - through which new volumes of gas from regional suppliers might also flow to the Turkish-EU border. The European Investment Bank (EIB) could play a key role in attracting private and institutional investors, through its wide set of financing tools. The four "EU-Turkey Energy Diplomacy Task-Forces" and the "EU-Turkey Gas Infrastructure Financing Initiative" would act under the common framework of the "EU-Turkey Strategic High Level Energy Dialogue" recently launched by the [European Energy Union] Vice-President [Maros] Sefcovic and [Turkish Energy] Minister Yıldız.
Firstly, all parties - the EU, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and the KRI - should have a certain political will and bring forward this will in a resolute manner to ensure this very important energy integration and to activate energy diplomacy in a strong way. Well, on what does this integration depend and which dynamics create it? First, let me say that every postponement of carrying the Caucasian, Middle Eastern and Levantine energy resources to Europe through the SGC will make it easy for Russia to shift toward its east in a greater way and to become a systemic threat. This move will also hamper China's strategy of remaining within the system and becoming an economic power within the system. The devaluations that China has launched one after the other are a new move against the dollar. China maintains its insistence on growth by keeping its competitive power in exports and it is obvious that China will no longer invest its foreign trade surplus, which it obtains from its rising exports, only in the dollar and U.S. treasury securities. China will first direct its foreign trade surplus of billions of dollars to permanent infrastructural investments on the regions along the New Silk Road and then we will see a major amount of Chinese capital flowing to the most distant parts of Africa.
Instigating stability in the countries along the SGC and in the vast geography spanning from the Caucasus to Europe will deepen the EU crisis and make the EU more dependent on Russia particularly in energy. In this case, the union that will emerge and combine with Chinese development will never be like the EU, but instead a Eurasian union that will be the result of Russia's imperialist objectives. Considering all this, current attempts to destabilize Turkey with terrorism are a multifaceted and a systemic attack against the SGC and the EU's expansion toward its east in a peaceful way. The destabilization of Turkey will also give rise to the systemic energy supply security problem. Moreover, Turkey will not only be a transit country that allows the pipeline to pass through its territory as part of these energy transits, it will also have a determinative position where it will set energy prices with the energy stock market that it will establish. To this end, the KRI's economic integration with Turkey should be highlighted and the PKK terror in eastern and southeastern Turkey should stop. I think the PKK terror that has come on the agenda in this very conjuncture has been instigated not only by national and regional motives but it is also an attack against the great peace integration that will be a result of the SGC. It should be noted that instability in Turkey is not only a problem for Turkey, but also for the system.