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On Formulating a New Energy Strategy for Turkey

With its young population, dynamic private sector, and pivotal geographic location, Turkey is simultaneously a large energy consumer, an energy gathering and dispatching center, and an energy investor in the pan-European energy landscape. These characteristics, which make Turkey an emerging regional and global energy player, when combined with the growing gap between Turkey’s energy supply and demand, necessitate a new, comprehensive, long-term energy strategy (preferably out to 2030 or later) in which the end policy goals are clearly defined, and the ways and means to achieve those goals are described in a comprehensive and coherent manner. This article discusses the basics of formulating such a strategy. It argues that such a strategy must focus on ensuring long term energy supply at affordable costs to consumers, on Turkey’s geopolitical role in terms of regional and global energy concerns, and on fair competition and environmental challenges.

On Formulating a New Energy Strategy for Turkey
Turkey has recently started to place high priority on increasing its use of domestic energy resources by utilizing public, private, and foreign sources to initiate new investments.
 

Although there exist several strategy documents to guide national energy sector development in Turkey, almost all have either a relatively short-term focus or no time horizon at all. However fashionable, the term “strategy” has almost always been misused or even abused in Turkey, especially in the energy field. Turkish energy policy makers have been increasingly inclined to equate strategy with listing desired goals, as opposed to figuring out how to achieve them. 

In Turkey, therefore, systematic thinking about energy in terms of the integrated application of available means to accomplish desired ends is still missing. For instance, the energy strategy papers prepared by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs2 in 2006 and 2009 can hardly be called strategy papers at all, since they do not go beyond describing the existing and planned oil and gas pipelines in the context of Turkey’s potential East-West energy corridor role. Moreover, the 2010 energy strategic plan of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR)3 concentrates on establishing the desired ends to be attained but not on the means and ways of getting there. 

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