9 Ağustos 2012 Perşembe

Turkey’s energy dance

J. Berkshire Miller*    CNN

Surrounded by a sea of uncertainty, Turkey continues a sustained effort to bolster its ties with East Asia. Ankara has long established relations with the region’s key players, including China, Japan and South Korea. A historical lack of management of these key relationships, though, has led to Turkey underperforming in its attempts to brand itself in the region. At the same time, though, Turkey is facing considerable challenges and opportunities in its own geopolitical neighborhood.

The strategic topography of the Middle East remains dynamic and unpredictable, and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe risks jeopardizing Ankara’s significant interests in exporting and serving as a transit country to the continent. This region will always be Turkey’s backyard and the legacy of the Ottoman Empire allows a certain amount of exceptionalism – and sometimes isolation – when dealing with neighbors.

One area where Ankara is hoping to secure an agreement with Asia is through the development of its civil nuclear program. As Turkey’s economy and population have continued to grow, the government has remained committed to finding new energy sources to meet increased demand.

But complicating matters have been strained relations with Syria, Iran and the Kurdish region of Iraq. Nearly half of Turkey’s energy imports come in the form of gas, mainly from Russia and Iran. Gas from Iran makes up as much as 20 percent of Turkey’s total energy imports – a number that’s declining rapidly due to American pressure to isolate Tehran over its nuclear program.

1 Ağustos 2012 Çarşamba

Turkey: Is Ankara Going Ballistic?

Ballistic Missiles test fire

Yigal Schleifer    Eurasia.net

Although Turkey late last year indicated its concern about the threat of ballistic missiles by agreeing to host part of NATO's new missile defense shield, Ankara now appears to be moving past this defensive posture towards something more robust.

As Today's Zaman recently reported, officials in Ankara have said that Turkey will soon start developing its own ballistic missiles. From TZ's article:
According to information acquired by Today’s Zaman from sources within the Defense Ministry, Ankara will produce its own ballistic missile system to avert any threat directed against Turkish national security. The decision was taken in a recent meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Committee led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 17....
....Officials underlined that it is an imperative and necessity for Turkey to produce and develop such missiles to maintain its deterrent capability and to feel safe in an insecure environment. The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) is now developing a missile called an SOM with a range of 300 kilometers. This will be a first step towards developing a ballistic missile with a range of 2,500 kilometers.

Turkey's New Role for Kurdish Oil Export

An oilfield, 10 kms south of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil, 310 km north of Baghdad.

Nayla Razzouk & Brian Swint    Bloomberg 

Tony Hayward, the former chief executive officer at BP Plc (BP/), is now loading a fleet of as many as 500 trucks a day while he waits for a new pipeline to carry oil from his fields in northern Iraq.

Since joining Genel Energy Plc (GENL) last year, Hayward has pushed the semi-autonomous Kurds to finish building a link to neighboring Turkey so he can find buyers outside the local market. Kurdish contractor Kar Group said it has completed 23 percent of the first 48-mile (77-kilometer) section of the line north to the border, though Turkey hasn’t said publicly it will take the oil. 

Kurdish authorities, feuding with the central government over sharing oil revenue, plan in the next two years to complete the 175-mile export link that will start at a Genel-operated field and move as much as 1 million barrels a day, equal to a third of Iraq’s output now. Following Hayward into the region are Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Chevron Corp. (CVX), bolstering the Kurdish plan to break Baghdad’s control of shipping crude from the landlocked territory that’s ruled itself since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.