One of the most emphasized issues at the Atlantic Council Istanbul Summit is the necessity for energy cooperation in order to bring stability to the region and the best use of the resources available therein. In his keynote address, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly underscored that energy is not a key for devastating competition among nations, but a key to cooperation between regional actors. Pointing out that Turkey sees energy as an important factor for peacemaking in its region and foreign policy, Erdoğan noted that energy consumption also indicates the level of prosperity of a country.
"We are trying to effectively use energy in our regional and bilateral relations with a share-based approach. Turkey has not acted and will not act with a unilateral win approach in energy as it does in any other matter," Erdoğan said, recalling that Turkey has garnered significant results from the projects developed with the win-win principle. Suggesting that the U.S. and Turkey have great potential for business in the field of energy, Erdoğan listed three foundations on which Turkey's energy strategy is based, namely supply security, localization and a predictable market.
Explaining that since the beginning of 2003, they have invested $75 billion in electricity and natural gas markets in public and private sectors, Erdoğan said, "In addition to the existing natural gas and oil pipelines, we are minimizing geopolitical risks with historical projects, such as the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), TurkStream, the Northern Iraq Natural Gas Pipeline and the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline."
Stressing that with such projects, Turkey has shown the potential to become an energy hub on the one hand and possesses the ability to contribute to Europe's energy supply security on the other, Erdoğan said Turkey has also strengthened the liquefied natural gas infrastructure (LNG) in pipelines.
Erdoğan stated that they had a major breakthrough in floating power plants last year and that they achieved a first by importing LNG from the U.S. for the first time in 2016.
Indicating that Turkey carries the burden of being dependent on imports in hydrocarbon resources, Erdoğan said: "We need to develop our own resources. For this, one of our vessels is conducting a seismic survey on three sides of our country, while we will carry out two new active drilling operations every year in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea with a new vessel we have just purchased."
Highlighting that the development of domestic and renewable energy sources is the second strongest leg of Turkey's energy strategy, Erdoğan recalled that the share of domestic sources in Turkey's electricity production reached 49.3 percent in 2016. "Our goal is to raise this rate to two-thirds. In this framework, we will add nuclear energy to our energy bucket and meet 10 percent of our energy needs this way," Erdoğan said, underlining that energy must be the key to collaboration, not the destructive competition trend of the 21st century.
Erdoğan noted that they have hosted many global events in order to increase international collaboration, recalling that the 23rd World Energy Congress was hosted in Istanbul last year, while 22th World Petroleum Congress will be organized in Turkey in July, as well as Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization Summit in May in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this important foundation.