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Potential Roles for Turkey as a Rising Regional Actor in Eurasia

Today, energy security is an important domestic and foreign policy matter and states are looking for alternative energy sources more vigorously than ever before. Using the “Heartland Theory” of British geographer Halford Mackinder to evaluate the theoretical claims that the convergence of foreign policy and energy security is driving competition for influence in the world, we examine the “competition” among the powerful political actors in the Caspian. Our findings suggest that the need for a continued source of energy has shifted national energy security policies from purely military affairs to prioritizing stable oil markets and has created potential roles, especially for powerful regional actors. After our review of the historical and present competition over Caspian energy sources, we analyze the effects of growing internationalization and securitization of global energy issues for Turkey and the possible implications of different foreign policy options Turkey is likely to pursue in the region.

 

Energy resources are the most important commodities in the world economy today. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), it will take at least $5.4 trillion over the next two decades to ensure the security and adequacy of petroleum for world consumption.1 This increasing cost in oil exploration puts high-energy consuming countries in a vulnerable position. It also poses an intricate challenge for other countries that are dependent on oil, especially for industrialization. Two of the consequences of these trends are that energy security is now an important domestic and foreign policy matter and that states look for alternative energy sources more vigorously than ever before. American, European, Russian, and Chinese foreign policy makers, as well as those from other developing nations, are increasingly trying to establishing links with resource rich areas to secure sources of petroleum.

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