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Merhaba Turkey is far from being the “Sick Man of Europe”. The decline the Ottoman Empire and slide into the European sphere of influence had compelled Tsarist Russia to make such a claim. After a long hiatus, Turkey has emerged a regional and global hub for travel and trade between continents once again. The “neo-Ottoman” influence into the Middle East via massively popular TV series as well as energy ties with Russia over the transport of oil and gas begs the question: does Turkey really need Europe? No other country that started the EU accession process failed to become a full Member State. Switzerland and Norway declined because of economic reasons. But Turkey wants to join the EU. Romania and Bulgaria were admitted despite not having addressed the colossal corruption of post-Communist cronyism. Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and applied for EU membership in 2004. Why is Europe denying Turkey? REVOLVE provides both sides of the equation with views from Brussels and Istanbul. On April 19, 2011, Brussels reiterated the conclusions from December 14, 2010 at the meeting of the EU-Turkey Association Council and welcomed the opening of another chapter of the negotiations. There are still many chapters remaining, and much resistance from EU Member States, but as Turkish Chief Negotiator, Egemen Bağis, said to REVOLVE: “it’s time to move forward.”


Irrespective of the June 12, 2011 elections, Turkey will continue to advance with ambitious energy projects related to oil and gas, as well as water and trade, with neighboring and global partners. In the lead-up to the elections, Prime Minister Erdoğan flaunted a new Kanal Istanbul project that would create a man-made Bosphorus to increase maritime commerce. This mega-project compares to the Panama Canal and is definitely an electoral campaign tool, — if not a delusion of grandeur. Domestically, Erdoğan’s AKP government has been confronted with the nebulous Ergenekon case. Over 50 journalists have been arrested for supposed ties to the Ergenekon group, an extra-judicial network of people who are allegedly attempting to carry out a coup d’état in order to topple the AK Party government that came to power in the 2002 elections and to silence the Gülen Movement whose leader, Fethullah Gülen, is in exile. Like an Italian-style Gladio operation, the Ergenekon organization consists of former security and military officials as well as journalists, civil society members, politicians and businessmen. How far will the Ergenekon case go? The elections should help clear this question and the Constitution that was established by the military junta

in 1980 will be changed as well. Apart from this good news, a new energy law (#6094) was passed in December 2010 establishing a renewable energy cluster to encourage joint ventures between national and international companies. Italian ENEL Green Power has already bought into a large geothermal project in Turkey. REVOLVE offers a tour de force of the energy sector from the geostrategic competition for gas pipelines to renewable energy and controversial nuclear power plants approved near the Ecemis earthquake fault-line. Compounded with off-shore oil exploration, gigantic irrigation efforts, and national highway construction, these projects are indicative of Turkey’s consolidation as a regional power with increasing influence in the neighboring Middle East. The tremendous popularity of Turkish TV series in the Arab world is a new phenomenon that even pulls men back to the house to see their favorite show. If you are more culturally inclined, then flip to the back to see more about the Fall of the Leaves, The Valley of the Wolves and more… REVOLVE is also featuring emerging artists from Sümer Gallery in Istanbul. And if you still haven’t had enough, then visit Turkey this summer and read more at:

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Editor Stuart Reigeluth Contributors Amanda Paul Ebru İlhan Eldar Mamedov Emine Kart Farah Aridi Jonathan Levack Ödül Celep Orhan Coşkun Sijbren de Jong Illustrator – Cover | Map InfoGraphics Oldemar

REVOLVE expresses special gratitude to Emine Kart in Ankara and Özge Genç in Istanbul for their insights and assistance with this report.

European Accession | 12-17

Views from Istanbul and Brussels on a painful political process

Regional Politics | 18-23

The reemergence of Turkey in the Middle East. Moving away from Tel Aviv and getting closer to Tehran?

Map of Turkey | 24-25 Energy Projects & Natural Resources

The Nabucco Pipeline | 26-29

Turkey and Europe’s drive towards diversification

South-eastern Anatolia Project (GAP) | 30-33

Eurasian Energy Bridge | 34-39

Graphic Designer Filipa Rosa

Domestic Politics | 06-11

Inside Turkey’s infamous Ergenekon case

Building highways, dams, elementary schools and irrigation canals

Natural gas, oil, nuclear and renewables

Turkish Soap Operas | 40-43

“Neo-Ottoman” influence or foreign melodramas

Art Sümer Gallery | 44-46

Three emerging artists living and working in Istanbul

Next Country | 47

United Arab Emirates

Writer: Ebru İlhan

Ebru İlhan is a PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.

Chasing Ergenekon Just when we were pointing to Turkey as an example for the Arab-Muslim world to follow, Turkey’s democratic efforts were hijacked by a series of arrests and police investigations related to the infamous Ergenekon trial. Journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were among ten suspects arrested on March 6, 2011 for supposedly partaking in acts of terrorism. Şener and Şık’s arrests galvanized a public outcry against violations of basic freedoms. Mass protests convened in Istanbul: journalists, public intellectuals and activists exchanged petitions and made public statements prophesizing a dystopic police state in Turkey.

Şık and Şener’s lawyers were not given a list of allegations against their clients. Several key political figures, namely Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, expressed concern over the arrests. Public opinion seems united in thinking that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is to blame for this tipping point in handling the elusive Ergenekon trial. Ergenekon is a clandestine organization believed to have recruited former and acting members of Turkey’s security organizations, bureaucracy and intelligentsia in order to stage a coup against the ruling AKP. Ergenekon refers to the trial launched in June

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The name Ergenekon comes from an ancient myth about a valley in Central Asia where beleaguered Turkic tribes found respite to regain strength and unity. 2007 and pursued by public prosecutor Zekeriya Öz to try the members and aides of the alleged criminal network. In light of Turkey’s long history of coup d’états, it is not surprising that there is a hierarchically organized and deeply embedded organization that runs parallel to and above Turkey’s existing legal and security structures. However, increasing numbers of intellectuals and policy analysts dismiss the possibility of Ergenekon carrying out all the deeds laid out in the indict-

ment and trial proceedings by the public prosecution. Turkey-based journalist and researcher Gareth Jenkins offers the most substantial analysis available in English on the Ergenekon trial. Jenkins affirms that the 3.500 page indictment that accuses over a hundred individuals for their involvement with Ergenekon is full of irrationalities. He claims that prosecutors are blinded by their convictions to the failings of the text.1

Is detaining journalists as part of the Ergenekon investigation an attack on the freedom of expression?

Others, such as Ali Bayramoğlu, are convinced that Ergenekon seeped into the core of Turkey’s state, civil society and media, and that the prosecution fails to illuminate the darker corners of Turkey’s official apparatus. Bayramoğlu is one of the Hrant Dink trial observers. He links the assassination of the Turkish-Armenian journalist in 2007 with Ergenekon, based on the list of names attributed to the Dink assassination and the Ergenekon accused.

judiciary, and media behind the political assassinations. Alper Görmüş, former editor of the weekly magazine Nokta that first leaked in April 2007 the diary entries of a retired general outlining the military’s plans to topple the AKP government, calls this the “cleansing process” of the Ergenekon trial.

Nedim Şener defends Bayramoğlu’s argument and, in cooperation with the Dink family, revealed covert criminal relations between the gendarmerie, intelligence, police, military, executive,

Dilek Kurban from the daily Radikal, whose headquarters in Istanbul were raided to collect Ahmet Şık’s unpublished draft manuscript, states that Şık and Şener were not detained for

being journalists. Like an overwhelming number of arrests and abuses on citizens in Turkey, Şık and Şener are exposed to unlawful treatment before justice. Kurban calls on Turkey and the international community to recognize the systematic and structural judicial problems and to defend their rights to a fair trial.2 Similar calls are voiced by members of the activist group “Friends of Ahmet and Nedim”. On April 2, 2011, Şık and Şener’s lawyers documented the

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The Gülen Movement A force for tolerance or a threat? Writer: Eldar Mamedov

Leuven University – one of the most prestigious Catholic universities in Belgium – established a chair named after Fethullah Gülen, an influential Turkish Islamic preacher. This is one of the latest examples of the efforts of the Gülen movement – a loose network of businesses, schools, media organisations and NGOs inspired by the teachings of Gülen – to portray it as a force for tolerance and inter-faith dialogue, an antidote to the clash between the West and Islam. A closer look at the movement’s activities, however, suggests a more troubling picture. Despite the movement’s insistent claims that it has no political agenda, it is seen as spearheading the controversial Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases - an investigation into an alleged network of coup-plotting ultra-secularists seeking to overthrow the government of the Islamic-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. Gülenist media outlets, such as the newspapers Zaman, Today’s Zaman and Samanyolu TV, uncritically support the investigation, despite ample evidence of serious procedural violations and lack of effective legal guarantees for the suspects. There are allegations that sympathizers in the police are behind some of the most blatant attacks on the freedom of expression in Turkey, such as the arrests of a former police chief Hanefi Avci and journalist Ahmet Sik, after they wrote detailed books exposing the

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Gülenist manipulation of judicial processes and efforts to stamp out non-Gülenists from the police force. The activities of the Gülen movement in the West are also coming under an increasing scrutiny. Concerns have Retired preacher of Islam and spiritual leader of an Islamic movement emanating been raised by media, from Turkey, Gülen lives in self-imposed politicians and parents exile in Pennsylvania, USA. in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany that the schools operated by the movement are used for religious indoctrination of pupils and hinder their integration in the broader society. The FBI is investigating a number of schools linked to the Gülen movement in the United States on suspicions that school employees are pressured to give part of their salaries to the movement, which has yet to respond adequately. The opaque nature of the movement and the links between its various institutions, its controversial role in Turkish politics and a questionable record of its schools in the West fuel concerns that, far from the lofty ideals it proclaims, the movement may be using the permissiveness of democracies to advance its own religious and political agenda, which may not be fully compatible with the values of liberal democracy. Eldar Mamedov is an international relations analyst based in Brussels.

ecution to act with immunity. However, the fiasco of Şık and Şener’s arrests breached the AKP’s wall of defence to reveal the admittedly key role that the network of Fethullah Gülen supporters played in executing the investigation and penal processes. Gülen loyalists are said to fill the ranks of law enforcement positions and the office of the public prosecutor, Zekeriya Öz, who was promoted to Deputy District Attorney and then taken off the Ergenekon case. Such claims mirror the arguments Şık offers in his unpublished book, İmamın Ordusu (The Imam’s Army), for which he was detained – draft copies were banned by court order. As part of a cyber-protest against the curtailment of freedoms, İmamın Ordusu is shared online via mass e-mailing and filesharing software.

farcical proceedings of the Ergenekon trial whereby restrictions were placed on legal counsels to access, observe and oppose evidence. Other contradictions arose over allegations trying Şık and his colleague, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, for exposing evidence of the Ergenekon investigation in their book Kırk Katır Kırk Satır.3 European and international observers concur with concerned citizens and activists in Turkey regarding the sinister turn that Ergenekon took and are increasing pressure on the AKP government to reinstate credibility in the democratization process of Turkey. The

European Commission’s 2009 “Turkey Progress Report” finds the Ergenekon case commendable for being the first investigation of an attempted coup; then reprimands the lack of judicial guarantees for suspected detainees. The AKP defends the Ergenekon investigation and allows for the public pros-

The Ergenekon case has provided Turkey’s Kurdish, Armenian, Alevi, socialist, and Islamist communities with a venue to vent their anger against what they perceive to be the opaque and ruthless Turkish state. Turkey’s citizens would like to see the dark deeds of the recent past brought to light. Şık and Şener may have sparked a new and perhaps more inspiring episode in the Turkish quest for freedom and democracy – one that may have a great deal to learn from the revolutions in the Arab world.

Notes: 01. Gareth H. Jenkins, “Between Fact and Fantasy: Turkey’s Ergenekon Investigation”, Silk Road Paper, August 2009.

02. Dilek Kurban, “Basın Özgürlüğü”, Radikal, March 30, 2011.

03. Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Istanbul: Ithaki Publishing, 2010.

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TURKEY’s EU Accession

Writer: Ödül Celep

Ödül Celep PhD in Political Science from SUNYBinghamton, New York, teaches at Isik University, Istanbul. “The multi-faceted Turkish-EU relations, ranging from energy to common security, are as crucial as ever given global challenges today. Yet, neither the pace of EU accession talks nor the level of political consultations appears to be at the desired level. After the June 12, 2011, elections Turkey is set to accelerate, with a new dynamism, its focus on the reform process and further alignment with the EU. It is crucial for the European Union to match that determination especially on key issues such as Cyprus and visa liberalization. This requires greater cooperation between Turkey and the EU in the areas of economy and foreign policy, and particularly democratization in light of the Arab Spring.” Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s Minister for European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator

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A View from Istanbul

The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, aspired to join the “contemporary civilization” (muasır medeniyet) of Europe.

The top-down reforms made during the early Republican period (1923-38) aimed to differentiate the new Turkey from the old Ottoman past and to create a secular modern European state. Turkey’s membership bid to the European Union constituted a controversial debate about European identity, the territorial borders and the extent of the enlargement process. In Turkey too, the accession process is controversial: while mainstream politics defend membership, Euro-skepticism is high amongst the pro-Islamist right and far left parties. Former Prime Minister and leader of the pro-Islamist Welfare Party (Refah Partisi, RP) went so far as to say that if Turkey joined the EU, it would turn into a “province of Israel”.1 The debate about the EU accession is as much about external orientation as internal politics. Joining the EU implies embracing the Western culture, which for the more orthodox pro-Islamists is equivalent to moral decay; and the longer Turkey is denied full EU membership, the more Europe is seen as a Christian Club. It has become a vicious cycle and the conflict continues between seculars and pro-Islamists for domestic power to determine Turkey’s alignment in the world.

Laying The Foundation Turkey applied for associate membership to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1959, which was granted with the 1963 Ankara Agreement that would lead to eventual full EU membership. In 1970, the Additional Protocol, that explained the procedures by which the Customs Union would be set between Turkey and the EU, was signed and annexed to the Ankara Agreement. The 1980 military coup d’état led to a disruption of Turkey-EU

relations: Brussels suspended the Ankara Agreement and froze relations with Turkey in January 1982. Relations resumed later in 1986. When Turkey appealed to Brussels for full membership in 1987; the European Commission deferred the matter to an undetermined future date. The justifications then were Turkey’s flailing macro-economic condition, its rocky relations with Greece, and the Cyprus conflict between Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities.

One of the major developments leading to a rapprochement with Brussels was the 1995 EU-Turkey Customs Union. The coalition government then included the center-right True Path Party (Doğru Yol Partisi, DYP) and the center-left Republican People’s Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP). The coalition signed and presented the protocol to the Turkish people as a major victory. The EUTurkey Customs Union was considered by many as one of the crucial steps towards full EU membership for Turkey. The Customs Union meant that goods could move between the two entities with no customs restrictions, though it did not cover particular economic areas such as agriculture. Turkey’s candidacy waited until the 1999 Helsinki Summit where the European Council officially recognized Turkey as a candidate for EU membership. Turkey was governed by a three-party coalition government from 1999 until 2002. This coalition included the center-left Democratic Left Party (Demokratik Sol Parti, DSP), the far right Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP) and the centerright Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi, ANAP). During this coalition period, the Turkish Parliament was partially successful in adopting more than thirty amendments to the existing Constitution to meet the Copenhagen criteria, which collectively comprise the rules and conditions that define whether a country is eligible to join the EU. These amendments included the abolition of the death penalty in times of peace; strengthening gender equality in marriages in the Civil Code by granting women an equal share in goods and property accumulated during marriage;

permitting languages other than Turkish to be broadcast; revising the AntiTerror Law; and commencing the retrial of all cases that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found to be in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights.2 The orthodox pro-Islamist parties challenged Turkey’s EU membership and were frequently challenged in turn by official state institutions for violating the secular principles of the Constitution. After the shaky ‘Refah-yol’ coalition government between the religious RP and the center-right DYP in 1995-97, the Constitutional Court of Turkey (Anayasa Mahkemesi) shut down the RP for violating secularism in 1998. After the ban, the pro-Islamists founded the successor Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi, FP) – banned by the same court in 2001. The pro-Islamist party split into two main groups: traditionalists and revisionists. The traditionalists maintained their political and ideological purity with the Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi, SP), while the revisionists formed the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who became the Prime Minister of Turkey in March 2003. The pro-Islamist rift in the early 2000s marked a new phase in the debates on Turkey’s EU membership. Unlike the former pro-Islamist movement, Erdoğan’s AKP was a political merger between former pro-Islamists (which claimed to have changed) and former secular center-right groups. The AKP was a new hybrid in Turkish politics, resembling neither the pro-Islamists of the past nor the secular center-right.

Compared to Erbakan’s RP, Erdoğan’s AKP had contrasting stances on a variety of issues, including Turkey’s EU membership, which Erdoğan defends. AKP has maintained its single-party government since winning the 2002 and 2007 elections, and has turned a new page for Turkey’s relations with the EU. In 2002, the AKP announced EU accession would be one of Ankara’s leading foreign policy goals.

Erdoğan on the EU Threshold

The initial three years of the first AKP government (2002-05) witnessed a series of legal reforms for democratization. These reforms were introduced along the Copenhagen criteria, According to these criteria, candidate countries need to demonstrate the stability of their democratic institutions, human rights, respect for minorities, and a well-functioning market economy.3 In 2002 the European Council Summit gave Turkey a roadmap to comply with the acquis communautaire – essentially all the legislations and court decisions that collectively constitute EU law. In accordance with the EU harmonization package, the AKP government took several steps towards implementing the Copenhagen criteria. One of the main concerns emanating from Brussels was the strong influence of the Turkish military bureaucracy on the civilian political institutions. Turkey has had a long history of military involvement in civilian politics with examples such as the 1960 coup d’état, the 1971 memorandum, and the 1980 coup. Especially after the 1980 coup, the Turkish Armed Forces (Türk Silahlı

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Kuvvetleri, TSK) became highly effective in influencing the course of domestic politics. The AKP government took necessary steps to decrease the presence of military bureaucracy in internal administrative affairs. For instance, the number of civilian members of the National Security Council (Milli Güvenlik Kurulu, MGK) was increased, and a civilian bureaucrat was appointed as the MGK’s secretary general for the first time. Military representatives in the High Education Board (Yüksek Öğretim Kurumu, YÖK) and the High AudioVisual Board (Radyo Televizyon Üst Kurulu, RTÜK) were removed.4 In 2004 the European Commission published progress reports on Turkey’s accession process. These reports acknowledged improvements on fundamental rights and freedoms, and touched upon an array of problems, such as “honor killings” (namus cinayetleri) that continue to victimize women in rural areas, the limited freedoms of religious minorities (primarily non-Muslims), the non-recognition of Alevi and Kurdish minorities, and the persistent influence of the Turkish military on domestic politics. The EC reports also raised concerns regarding the 75 million-strong population of Turkey and its potential effects on EU Alevism is a heterodox Sufi sect that espouses a different interpretation of Islam, diverging from mainstream orthodox Sunni groups. Alevis are a religious, ethnic and cultural community in Turkey. Alevis endorse humanism, respect for human labor, gender equality, and tolerance towards other ethnic and religious groups.

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demographics and economics if Turkey were admitted as a full-fledged Member State.5 Another major hurdle to EU membership has been the interpretation of full freedom of expression as defined by the existing laws in Turkey. One of the most controversial debates revolved around the content of Article 301 that states previously that “a person who publicly insults ‘Turkishness,’ the State of the Republic of Turkey, or the Turkish Grand National Assembly, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.” In contradictory terms, Article 301 also states that “expressions of thought intended for criticism shall not constitute a crime.” The word ‘Turkishness’ (Türklük) was particularly criticized by several progressive, socialist and liberal intellectuals for restricting the freedom of expression in Turkey with a racist justification. Several Turkish intellectuals were tried in courts for violating Article 301, including the 2007 left-libertarian parliamentary candidate Baskın Oran, the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and the Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk. The AKP government revised this law by changing the word “Turkishness” to “Turkish nation” and reduced the maximum penalty from three to two years. But the revision was not enough for several progressives who advocated a total elimination of Article 301.

The Cyprus Conundrum Beyond Turkey’s domestic politics and the demographic consequences of its population on Europe, the question of Cyprus remains the most difficult foreign policy issue for Turkey’s accession

to the EU. The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since Turkey’s military intervention on the island in 1974. The resulting Cypriot split was severely aggravated by the United States and Great Britain that would have repercussions for democracy in Greece as well.6 Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, devised what became known as the Annan Plan to resolve the Cyprus conflict whereby the divided island would become the United Cyprus Republic. The Annan Plan was put to vote in separate referendums on both sides of Cyprus on April 24, 2004. The results were completely opposite: the Turkish Cypriot community overwhelmingly supported the plan with about 65 percent voting ‘yes’ (as opposed to 35 percent ‘no’), while only 24 percent of the Greek Cypriot community supported it (as opposed to about 76 percent ‘no’). Turkey and the AKP government endorsed the Annan Plan because its fulfillment would enhance relations with Greece and ease Turkey’s EU accession. The failure of the Annan Plan also disappointed EU officials, who had hoped that the acceptance of the plan would solve the Cyprus problem before allowing Cyprus to join the EU. However, despite having voted against reuniting, the Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus quixotically became an EU Member State in May 2004. Cyprus remains divided today and continues to obstruct negotiations between Turkey and Brussels. The Turkish government has consistently refused to officially recognize the (Greek) Republic of Cyprus until the political and economic

blockade on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is lifted. This embargo has complicated Turkey’s position within the EU Customs Union because under the agreements Turkey is supposed to keeps its ports and airspace open to Greek Cypriot planes and vessels, but refuses to do so since Brussels continues to isolate the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. For Turkey’s AKP government, making concessions on Cyprus is perceived as a political defeat. Therefore, the ultimate reward of joining the EU is no longer enough to motivate the AKP government to accept the European demands to change the status quo of Turkey’s Cyprus policies.

Joining The Eu Ever? Turkey’s accession to the EU is perceived differently by different Member States and political parties across Europe. Both France and Austria showed signs of unwillingness as they said they would hold a referendum on Turkey’s accession. The French President Nicholas Sarkozy openly rejected

the idea of Turkey’s EU membership on the grounds that Turkey belonged to Asia Minor, not Europe.7 EU officials have also noticed a gradual slowing of reforms in Turkey. Some may hope that a disillusioned Turkey would eventually withdraw its accession motion. Former EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, visited Turkey and warned of a potential “train crash” in the negotiations process.8 EU officials were not the only ones to criticize the slowing down of Turkey-EU relations. The AKP’s non-conservative, liberal, intellectual supporters also started to criticize the government for neglecting Turkey’s EU accession process and for losing the initial momentum it had during the first three years (2002-05). Due to such setbacks, EU-Turkish negotiations stalled in late 2006. Technically, the earliest date that Turkey could become a full EU member is 2013 – the year when the next financial perspectives are to come into force. The AKP government seems to be dedicated to comply with the EU

Notes: 01. Fulya Atacan, “Explaining Religious Politics at the Crossroad: AKP-SP,” Turkish Studies (June 2005), Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 187-199.

02. Meltem Müftüler Bac, “Turkey’s Political Reforms and the Impact of the European Union,” South European Society and Politics (March 2005), Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 16-30.

03. Beken Saatçioğlu, “How Closely Does the European Union’s Membership Conditionality Reflect the Copenhagen Criteria? Insights from Turkey,” Turkish Studies (December 2009), Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 559-576.

04. Seçkin Barış Gülmez, “The EU Policy of the Republican People’s Party: An Inquiry on the Opposition Party and Euro-Skepticism in Turkey,” Turkish Studies (September 2008), Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 423–436.

05. Gülmez, op. cit., p. 428.

06. For more on the role played by the United States and Henry Kissinger, see Christopher Hitchens, Cyprus, London: Quartet Books, 1984.

07. “Nicholas Sarkozy in Quotes,” The Guardian, May 6, 2007.

08. “The ins and outs: The EU’s most effective foreign-policy instrument has been enlargement. But how far can it go?” The Economist, March 15, 2007.

law by this year, despite some EU officials’ refusals to declare this year as a deadline. It is important to note that the changing political actors in the governments of European countries also affect the potential for Turkey to become an EU Member State. European social democrats and socialists generally tend to be more supportive of Turkey’s full membership, while conservatives and Christian Democrats are usually more skeptical. Former Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, openly supported Turkey’s accession, while Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor, only offers a “privileged partnership” status for Turkey, which Ankara perceives as an insulting second-class status. A consolidated relationship between Turkey and the EU has much broader political implications than reforms and further democratization in Turkey. The accession process has slowed but Turkey-EU relations could be rekindled. The pending questions remain as prevalent as before: can a predominantly Muslim society become a member of the EU? Is the EU a Christian Club? Will the East-West divide persist? Will the division fade with the full accession of Turkey? If so, Europe would border Syria, Iran and Iraq – the security implications are massive. But Turkey is already a strong NATO member. Turkey may no longer feel the need or more importantly see any additional economic incentives and benefits in joining the European Union since it is rapidly becoming a regional power. Improvements in trade and commerce with its neighbors and as a transit hub may simply outweigh any political reason to be part of the European project.

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In Limbo: Turkey’s Trial A View from Brussels

While Turkey and the EU are crucial economic and political partners, the current lack of strategy and vision displayed by EU leaders, compounded by the hurdle of the decades old Cyprus problem has almost totally deadlocked Turkey’s membership talks. Writer: Amanda Paul

Amanda Paul is a Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels. “‘I strongly believe that there is a real chance to regain significant momentum in EU-Turkey accession talks, provided some basic conditions are met. Beyond the issues linked to Cyprus, the European Union regards progress in core political reforms – such as freedom of expression and belief, constitutional reform, reform of the judiciary – as the main ‘convincing arguments’ which Turkey should offer.” Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy

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The EU accession process could be compared to the emperor who wore no clothes: we pretend something is there when really it is not, or nearly not. It has been almost a year since a negotiating chapter was opened. Since negotiations began in October 2005, only 13 of the 35 chapters have been opened with just one provisionally closed. [BOX – Turkey’s path to accession] The remaining three chapters have tough opening benchmarks. The competition chapter, for example, is usually left until the very end of the negotiating process because it is both challenging and very costly for candidates. The EU accession process could be compared

to the emperor who wore no clothes: we pretend something is there when really it is not, or nearly not. It has been almost a year since a negotiating chapter was opened. Since negotiations began in October 2005, only 13 of the 35 chapters have been opened with just one provisionally closed. The remaining three chapters have tough opening benchmarks. The competition chapter, for example, is usually left until the very end of the negotiating process because it is both challenging and very costly for candidates. Greek Cyprus blocks chapters because of Turkey’s failure to fully meet its Customs Union obligations and open its harbours and airspace to Cypriot vessels. Turkey has always linked this to Brussels delivering on the commitments made to Turkish Cypri-

Turkey’s path to the EU • October 2005: EU accession process starts • 13 of 35 chapters opened; 1 chapter closed (science and education) • 22 chapters remain to be opened: 18 are frozen by opposition from France, Germany, Cyprus or the European Council • 3 pending chapters: competition policy | social policy and employment | public procurement

ots following the 2004 UN Annan Plan Referendum for the reunification of Cyprus – when Turkish Cypriots voted “yes” while Greek Cypriots voted “no” only to become EU members a week later while the Turkish Cypriots were left out in the cold. The EU did offer the Turkish Cypriots an economic package including a Direct Trade Regulation. However, the Regulation has never materialized due to Greek Cypriot opposition. The Greek Cypriots see it as a step towards recognizing the Turkish Cypriot administration. As a consequence of this stagnation, reforms have slowed, becoming increasingly patchy with Turks increasingly skeptical about backing (often expensive) reforms that may negatively affect their business interests if there is no guarantee of final membership. Moreover, Ankara feels insulted by the EU’s continued refusal to offer Turkey a visa free regime. While the countries of the Western Balkans already have free visa regimes with the EU, and other nations such as Ukraine and Moldova (and shortly Russia) are negotiating them, the Turks continue to be refused. Even efforts to have “visa facilitation” for certain categories of people to receive a visa have been a struggle. Turks find this humiliating and as a result the EU has almost become a non-issue. With parliamentary elections in June 2011, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) switched to campaign mode, pursuing an increasingly domestic and nationalist agenda. Statements from Prime Minister Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, labeling the EU as a spent force lacking vision and leadership, are evidence of this shift.

Ankara has some justification for its animosity. Some EU Member States are clearly trying to tip Turkey over the edge so Ankara draws a line under its own membership process. But it is highly unlikely this will happen. While Turkey’s leaders may moan about the EU they also need it to continue the reform process, to maintain stable and continuous foreign direct investment, and regarding its own internal legitimacy to dissipate stories of hidden agendas. There are only two “exits” to the current impasse: progress on Cyprus and a change in leadership in France and Germany. The second may be more likely than the first, but only the first can totally open the way to EU entry. There is a glimmer of hope on both issues: The fact that the AKP seems on track for a big election win means that Prime Minister Erdoğan could be in a very strong position in the post-election period which will offer him the opportunity to make one or two groundbreaking decisions. He may take some steps vis-à-vis Cyprus including possibly the implementation of the Additional Protocol, thereby opening Turkey’s airspace and harbors to the Republic of Cyprus. This would be a significant step forward in light of Turkey’s stalled EU membership talks. Thereafter, up to 14 negotiating chapters that are presently frozen would be opened, bringing a much needed dynamic back to the process. Furthermore, while this move would not resolve the “Cyprus issue” it would show Turkey’s commitment to its EU aspirations and hopefully pave the way

for greater international pressure on the two Cypriot leaders to be more flexible in their ongoing negotiations. If no progress is made in the short term, Turkey’s relations with the EU will remain in limbo whereby both continue to conduct their business and are plenty of shared goals and areas of interest to work on including foreign, energy, trade and security issues. Keeping Ankara “in the loop” should have a positive effect on relations and perhaps help erode opposition. The EU should continue to broaden its relations with Turkey by allowing Ankara to have a greater role in foreign policy planning which will prove useful for both partners. Turkey’s potential membership is at least fifteen years away. Whether this is finally reached or not, more mutuallybeneficial cooperation is the way forward for Turkey-EU relations.

“Turkey has come a long way already. But, there is still a change in approach – towards dialogue, tolerance, responsibility and non-discrimination – that needs to be pursued and completed: political reform means not only producing adequate laws, but also crafting reforms through comprehensive dialogue and compromise, and implementing these reforms in an inclusive spirit. Fundamental political reforms are not an electoral matter; they are for all citizens of Turkey in the mediumand long-term.” Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy

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Back to the Middle East

It’s easy to forget that Turkey and many countries of the Middle East were enemies. The ‘Terrible Turks’ were seen as the root cause of the region’s problems and conduits for U.S. imperial interests. Meanwhile, Turks viewed Arabs as backward and untrustworthy people who betrayed Turkey during the 1916 Arab Revolt. How times have changed. Turkey is once again a regional player of significant standing – in the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation’s (TESEV) 2010 public opinion survey of eight Middle Eastern countries in the region,1 80 percent of Arab nationals have a very or somewhat favourable opinion of Turkey. This figure is particularly striking when compared to the other countries in the survey: only Saudi Arabia was viewed more favourably than Turkey (81 percent had a very or somewhat favourable opinion of KSA). Indeed, other regional leaders, like Egypt and Iran, are nowhere near as popular as Turkey.

Writer: Jonathan Levack

Jonathan Levack Is Programme Officer at TESEV’s Foreign Policy Programme in Istanbul

What is your opinion of the following countries? 0










Saudi Arabia Turkey China Syria Jordan Egypt Iran Russia Iraq USA Total very or somewhat favourable responses

Why the Change? Turkey’s recent return to the Middle East led to accusations of an axis shift and that Ankara has neo-Ottoman pretentions. Many point towards the 2003 vote in the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 2003 that prevented U.S. Coalition troops from entering Iraq through Turkish territory as part of the U.S.-led invasion. The outspoken attitude of the Turkish Prime Minister at

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Davos in 2009 and the Mavi Marmara 2010 episode have brought attention to Turkey and its arguably principled stance against what it sees as an injustice. No doubt, these events have affected the perception of Turkey but the transformation of Turkey from within is arguably more important. Consistent

economic growth over the last decade both in and outside the traditional industrial heartlands has encouraged Turkish business and a growing middle class to trade and integrate with new markets. Over the past ten years exports to the Middle East have increased by more than 7-fold from a total of $2.6 billion in 2000 to $19.2 billion by the end of 2010.

Demographic and political changes in Turkey led to a rethinking of the country’s view of its place in the world. An end to the highly-securitized understanding of foreign policy and a more open-minded view of the world saw Turkey engage in places and issues that it may have averted previously,

such as an attempt to mend problematic relations with many of its neighbours including Armenia. Congruently, a lack of leadership and sense of inertia in the region – in tandem with fears of Iranian influence – have rendered Turkey more attractive for the region’s publics and elites alike.

The cliché that Turkey has turned its back on the West and is heading East for ideological reasons is largely unfounded.

for the region, survey participants responded with myriad of answers ranging from its democratic system and dynamic economy through to its Muslim background and stance in support of the Palestinians.

a competitive market economy and a functioning democracy that does not forgo a sense of religious identity – indeed in a separate question 2/3rds of respondents felt Turkey successfully combined Islam and democracy.

However, none of the answers topped 15 percent of responses, suggesting that no single element makes Turkey an ideal model. It’s a range of components that encompass both what Turkey is and what Turkey does. It’s

Clearly, the experience of the current Turkish government in accommodating itself into a functioning secular democratic system has not gone unnoticed. In terms of what Turkey does, its stance in support of Palestinians and Muslims is appreciated. However this is not among the top three answers, suggesting that while Turkey’s sometimes outspoken rhetoric is important it is not the central factor in its popularity.

A Model Question Turkey’s transformation has encouraged Ankara to reintegrate with its immediate region. After the events of late 2010 and early 2011 the role of Turkey in the region is once again a regular topic of discussion. TESEV’s 2010 survey found that 66 percent of respondents thought Turkey can be a model for Middle Eastern countries and only 18 percent of respondents thought it could not. What makes Turkey stand out as a model? When asked why they thought Turkey could be a model

Why can Turkey be a model? 0

Its Muslim background





Its Economy Its democratic regime It stands up for palestinians and muslims

Turkey’s growing soft power warrants further discussion. The Turkish econ-

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omy is clearly seen as a shining light in a region characterized by the inefficient rentier states. In TESEV’s survey, Turkey ranked second behind Saudi Arabia in terms of economic strength now but is seen as the region’s economic leader in just ten years time. Here the Turkish desire to compete with other global economies without significant oil and gas resources has forced it to develop into a dynamic market economy that is proving exemplary for the region.

The Turkish social model is also of growing interest. Turkish television series have been watched by a staggering 78 percent of survey respondents. Much of these portray Turkey and Turkish family life in a positive modern light. For example, the final episode of Noor - the Turkish series Gümüş dubbed into Arabic - attracted 85 million viewers across the region and has been a factor in the huge increase in tourists coming from the Arab world to Turkey. Indeed, Turkey is now the most popular holiday destination in the region.

For more on the popularity of Turkish soap operas across the Arab world, see pages 40-43.

The people of the region clearly welcome a more active Turkey. It represents an aspiring combination of virtues that make it one of the most popular countries in the region. But Turkey needs to realize that while criticizing Israel and standing up to injustices is welcome, it is not what makes it most popular amongst the street nor does it allow it to play the positive mediatory role it could fill (something that more than 3/4s of the respondents thought

Turkey should do). Whereas criticism is legitimate, maintaining relations with all sides is equally important. The region’s problems are entrenched in a multitude of reasons and Turkey needs to be well equipped if it is to make a difference. There are few experts in academia and officialdom in Turkey who have a firm understanding of the Middle East. Address these and Turkey could be the constructive regional leader that it aspires to be.

Turning Potential into Reality Turkey’s high-standing in the region among both governments and society should see it becoming a – if not the – leader in a region devoid of leadership, security and direction. Many more ambitious policies still have to bear fruit. For example, much has been achieved bilaterally with countries like Iraq and Syria and attempts to create a free-trade zone among Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are underway. However, attempts to broker a peace deal between Israel and Syria collapsed (not because of Turkey), a proposal to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis in May 2010 was rejected, and Turkey’s policy towards the popular protests in the region has been mixed.

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01. TESEV’s ‘The Perception of Turkey in the Middle East’ was conducted in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Iran between August 25 – September 27, 2010. The total sample included 2,267 people and the poll has a regional margin of error of 2.06 percent.

Floating away from Israel Turkish-Israeli relations went through a golden era in the 1990s. Military cooperation grew exponentially, trade expanded and the number of Israeli visitors to Turkey multiplied. After a brief pause during the government led by the late Prime Minister Erbakan, Turkish-Israeli relations were a cornerstone of both countries’ foreign policy. Lately, things are not so rosy.

The flotilla crisis in May 2010, when 8 Turkish and one Turkish-American activists were killed onboard the Mavi Marmara ship in international waters carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, seemed to mark the bottom of TurkishIsraeli relations. But the crisis was not the beginning of the end; rather it was a symptom of deteriorating relations. Many claim that the current Turkish government’s ideological opposition to the State of Israel is to blame. But the AKP government in Turkey was committed to maintaining working relations with Israel. President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan have visited Israel, and Shimon Peres was the first Israeli President to address the Turkish Parliament in 2007. Israel’s military Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 was a turning point for Ankara. Three days prior to the Israeli invasion of Gaza, the Turkish Prime Minister was negotiating with Ehud Olmert and Bashar Assad over a draft for an Israel-Syria peace agreement. The intervention drew a furious reaction from Ankara – Erdoğan was said to be personally offended having put so much effort into an Israel-Syria

deal. A month later Erdoğan walked off stage during a Davos panel accusing Israeli President Peres of atrocities in Gaza. This very public spat made Erdoğan a hero in the Middle East. Turkish-Israeli relations seemed to be sliding towards separation. Things worsened with the treatment of the Turkish Ambassador to Israel by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the now infamous flotilla incident. Ankara demands a full apology for the flotilla raid and compensation be paid to the families of the victims. Diplomats from both sides have attempted to thrash out an apology to this effect but there seems little political will. Hawkish Israeli politicians ask why they should apologize to Turkey and want Turkey to apologize to Israel. A seemingly solvable marriage has become totally intractable. Citizens in Turkey and Israel are equally supportive of their government’s stances towards the flotilla crisis. The Turkish press talked of ‘an act of war’ and ‘murder on the high seas’. Six months later 71 percent of the Turkish public found their government’s response to the crisis appropriate; in a

separate question Israel is perceived as the most unfriendly country to Turkey.

Reflecting Domestic Change

According to a senior Israeli TV commentator, the same is true in Israel: 80 percent of Israelis see their government’s reaction to the attempt to breach the blockade in Gaza as justified. Israeli tourists have stopped travelling to Turkey: Israeli tourism dropped by a staggering 92 percent in August 2009 compared to August 2010. Rarely have both societies been so adamant and consistent in the belief that their government is right. Politics changes with people. The old Turkish elite – made up of the army, elements of the bureaucracy and the staunch Kemalist members of the business and media communities – were the driving force behind relations with Israel. A shared sense of insecurity in their immediate region and a proWestern worldview made for a very cozy relationship. However, the ongoing process of democratization in Turkey has brought in a more pluralistic political system

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and new foreign policy thinking that is not simply security-based but also motivated by engagement, economic growth and a sense of Turkey’s place in the world. Turkish rapprochement with its more immediate Arab neighbors is exemplary. Where previous Turkish governments often allowed regional events to pass, the new generation of political elites are adamant that a spade should be called a spade – and with some justification. Turkey’s new approach to foreign policy is seen as one of the great successes of the current government. 65 percent of respondents to TESEV’s 2010 survey rated the government’s foreign policy either highly of very highly (32 and 33 percent respectively) and only 22 percent rated it poorly or very poorly. With general elections in June 2011 and political attention directed at regional unrest, movement from Ankara on this front is almost zero since the Turkish view is that there is no political will in Tel Aviv either since hawkish parties hold the Israeli domestic balance of power. With public opinion firmly entrenched, the two government’s unwilling to budge and upheaval in the Middle East rife, there seems to be sparse light at the end of the tunnel. Without a change in leadership in Turkey or Israel (or significant external pressure) the love affair may be sailing off into a prolonged storm. The days of negotiation or event governments willing to negotiate seem long gone; for many it is a case of when and not if we see the next example of disproportionate Israeli aggression.

Best Buddies with Iran? Many have highlighted Ankara’s growing interest in Iran as evidence of Turkey’s shift towards the East. Turkey-Iran relations are indeed far better now than back in the 1980s and 1990s when Ankara feared the influence of the Islamic revolution and Iranian support for Kurdish separatism.

Growing Closer

Having shared a long common border for centuries, it was perhaps inevitable that the two countries would look to rediscover one another. Iranians love Turkey: 85 percent of Iranians have a somewhat or very favourable view of Turkey.1 In 2010, 1.85 million Iranians entered Turkey. Though this nearly equals the total number of visitors from the entire Arab world combined, Iranian tourism to Turkey was fourth globally after Germany, the UK and Russia.

Encouraged by no visa requirements, the number of tourists from Iran dwarfs those coming from other countries in the region.

Trade with Iran is also an important component of bilateral relations. In 2000, bilateral trade totalled just over one billion U.S. dollars. In 2010, bilateral trade was well over $10 billion and President Abdullah Gül underlined the countries’ commitment to raise this figure to $30 billion in just five years, during a visit to Iran in February 2011. Much of this trade revolves around

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the bomb. Nor does the public want an Iranian bomb: 65 percent 2 of the Turkish public are opposed to Iran developing nuclear weapons – in fact opposition is far higher in Turkey than it is in the Arab world (39 percent). 3

Photo by Samantha Zaza. Tophane, Istanbul.

energy. Iran is Turkey’s second biggest supplier of natural gas, which is essential to fuelling their economic growth. Turkey also aspires to become an energy hub by securing transit gas projects and selling extra supplies. Iran has the potential to supply some of this, particularly when and if Western sanctions are lifted. Myriad potential transit projects have been discussed and memos of understanding have been signed regarding the building of pipelines to bring gas from both Turkmenistan and the South Pars field to Turkey and then potentially on to Europe via Nabucco. (See ENERGY section for more details: pp. 26-39) Politically, Iran and Turkey also seem closer. Following Ahmadinejad’s contentious 2009 election victory, Tayyip Erdoğan was quick to congratulate the Iranian premier. The May 2010 nuclear swap deal with Iran and the subsequent no vote in the UN Security Council surprised many and caused a rupture in Turkey’s relations with the West. The initial deal was concluded in good faith – Turkey believed it had Washington’s agreement to negotiate – but the ensuing no vote was seen as Turkey siding with Iran.

Growing Apart Closer inspection of the Turkish-Iranian relationship suggests that things aren’t so great. International sanctions make it hard for Turkish companies to do business in Iran. These difficulties are compounded by high customs tariffs and uncooperative local conditions. Many major Turkish companies, including Turkcell and TAV, have had agreements and/or contracts cancelled or not honoured. In his February 2011 visit to Iran, President Gül was accompanied by a large delegation of businesspeople. The message was clear: if Iran wants Turkish investment, protectionism must end. Likewise, energy dealings have often been fraught. Iranian gas does not always reach contracted standards and quantities. In the past, Iran has slashed exports to Turkey due to domestic shortages. Politically the relationship is a little rocky too. Contrary to some assertions, the Turkish government does not want to see a nuclear armed Iran and ­Abdullah Gül has been recorded as saying that he has no doubt they want to develop

Turkey has called repeatedly on Iran to be transparent with the international community. Nor do Turkey and Iran have similar views of the region’s future. While Turkey’s policies are based on economic integration and cooperation, Iran seems keen on expanding its sphere of influence. Such differences have the potential to be issues of consternation in a rapidly changing region. For instance, Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, encouraged his Iranian counterpart not to stoke the potential fire with the Shiamajority in Bahrain.

In March 2011, Turkey intercepted an Iranian plane bound for Syria, reportedly containing military cargo. Turkey and Iran are far closer than they once were, but to suggest that they are the closest of allies is an overstatement. Trust remains an issue between the regional powers and while they have grand aspirations to improve bilateral ties, doing so has proved easier said than done.

01. TESEV (2011). The Perception of Turkey in the Middle East.

02. Taken from TESEV’s 2010 survey of Turkish citizen’s perception of their own foreign policy. At the time of writing, this was unpublished. 03. TESEV (2011). The Perception of Turkey in the Middle East.

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Cement (3rd largest global exporter)


Top importing country

Petroleum and Natural Gas Search/ Manufacturing Region

75 million

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(To be completed by 2017)

Planned dams

Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP)

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Nabucco Pipeline


to be completed by 2013
















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Aegean Sea Me

Taurus Mountains Length: 2,000 km






Mediterranean Sea


Akkuyu Plant

NATURAL RESOURCES & ENERGY PROJECTS Marble 2nd largest European exporter


Cotton Wind Solar Nuclear Offshore Gold Ports Cultivation power power power exploration

G E O R G I A Black Sea SAMSUN




Aras Karasu


Nabucco Pipeline: 3,900 km

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Çakit Plant 20 MW




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Turkey and Europe’s Drive towards Diversification If Europe’s energy diversification plans succeed, Turkey is to become the new energy gateway to Europe for Central Asian and Middle Eastern natural gas supplies. Whether or not the Nabucco pipeline goes to full capacity, Turkey will become a regional transit hub. Although traditionally considered trustworthy, the reliability of Russian natural gas deliveries to the EU via Ukraine and Belarus has been called into question on a number of occasions in recent years, most notably after the 2006 and 2009 gas crises between Gazprom and Ukrainian Naftogaz. The disputes sent a wave of concern throughout the EU. Security of supply – and with it diversification – effectively became the new buzz words of the EU’s Second Strategic Energy Review in late 2008. The January 2009 crisis only served to reconfirm the perceived need to re-assess Europe’s energy security situation. The main initiative launched by the Review is the so-called Southern Corridor which comprises a number of projects that have as their aim to source alternative gas supplies from the Middle East and Central Asia. The Southern Corridor’s flagship project is Nabucco – a planned gas pipeline of 3.300 kilometres connecting the Caspian region and the Middle East via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary with Austria and further onwards to the Central and Western European gas markets, bypassing both Russia and Ukraine. Sustained demand for natural gas in Europe and the abundance of supplies in Nabucco’s region of choice seem to indicate a win-win situation for both supplying countries and

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Writer: Sijbren de Jong

Sijbren de Jong is energy editor for REVOLVE and Research Fellow on Energy Security at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven.

the EU. However, acquiring the actual supply contracts has proven more cumbersome than originally anticipated. In March 2011, the sale of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field – Nabucco’s principal source for the initial supply of gas – was delayed for six months as talks with potential customers dragged on, casting further doubt on who is ready to supply Nabucco. Moreover, in its bid to acquire gas, it faces stiff competition from rival European projects. The lack of gas contracts has left investors, companies and suppliers at odds over whether to openly express their support for Nabucco or to opt for a competing pipeline. The large number of uncertainties has led many to question the project’s long-term feasibility in light of recent regional developments.

Shah Deniz or Bust In its current form, Nabucco intends to source its initial supplies from Azerbaijan. The Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan was discovered in 1999 and constitutes the country’s largest offshore gas field at over 1 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of gas. Led by British Petroleum (BP), the project has been producing gas since 2006. Phase one is estimated at a maximum production rate of 8.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year and 50.000 barrels of gas condensate 1 per day. Currently, talks are underway on a second phase of exploration which would deliver an additional 16 bcm per annum of gas and up to 100.000 barrels of condensate, thus tripling the field’s overall production. The new volumes from Shah Deniz phase II are to be exported to the EU, as well as to markets in Georgia and Turkey. 10bcm per year is earmarked for Europe. However, competition for the gas is fierce, notably also from within the Southern Corridor itself, as projects such as the Italy-Turkey-Greece-Interconnector (ITGI) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) have similar plans to

extract their gas from Shah Deniz II. The winner of the contract was originally supposed to be announced in April 2011, but talks with potential customers have been postponed until the end of the year. What does 10bcm per year mean for the viability of the three competing Southern Corridor projects? Such a quantity of gas could easily fill TAP’s initial capacity of 10bcm per year and/ or most of the ITGI pipeline, which has a planned capacity of up to 12bcm. Over time, TAP can be expanded to 20bcm per year. However, Nabucco is a far larger pipeline, and the 10bcm would only constitute about one third of its 31 bcm per year capacity. Running at more than half-empty, this is precisely where Nabucco’s woes begin. In November 2010, Azerbaijan’s top negotiator made known that the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) wants to supply the gas only when it simultaneously acquires the right to sell it to the nearest markets. SOCAR would only be willing to pay for gas transport costs when and

if Nabucco were at full capacity. At a fixed transit rate now and running at only a third of its full potential, Nabucco carries a higher per unit transit cost when compared to a full pipe – a cost ultimately paid by the final consumer. Since Nabucco is to receive financial support from the EU only when it runs at full capacity, this means that unless it is able to find a second source of gas, SOCAR will not bear the commercial risks. Considering that the Nabucco consortium 2 hopes a 10bcm Azeri concession will convince other partners, such as North Iraq and/or Turkmenistan to start supplying additional sources of gas to Nabucco, this does not bode well for the pipeline’s prospects. However, SOCAR made very clear that it does not want Nabucco’s transit tariff to depend on the mere possible availability of gas from other sources. Azerbaijan does not want to be the EU’s ‘filling station’. Baku wants hard guarantees and for Nabucco to quote its tariff. The question then is, with no contract in sight, what options are left for Nabucco?

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Courtesy of

Turning to Turkmenistan In order to circumvent this problem, Azeri gas will have to be augmented from other sources. Geographically speaking, Iran would be the ideal supplier given the possibility of overland transport. However, it is clear that the current political climate does not allow for the inclusion of Iran in the near future. As neither Uzbekistan, nor Kazakhstan has the potential to supply Nabucco substantially in the short term either, this leaves the EU with two – less than ideal – alternatives: Turkmenistan and/or North Iraq. Getting access to Turkmen supplies is no easy undertaking. Next to the less than transparent attitude of the regime in Ashgabat over its hydrocarbon supplies, there are other difficulties. One option is to ship gas across the Caspian Sea by tanker. However, in the long run, doing so would be much more expensive compared to constructing a pipeline. In fact, such a TransCaspian pipeline has been talked about for decades and was heavily supported by Washington. Unfortunately for Europe,

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many obstacles in the way of its construction stem from opposition by Russia and Iran on grounds of sovereignty, fears over potential export revenue losses and environmental concerns – although the ‘sincerity’ of the latter has often been called into question. Along with significant offshore supplies, Turkmenistan is home to some impressive onshore fields. Of particular interest to Europe is the South Iolatan field, located in the east of the country. Experts claim its development is technically complex and poorly explored. This could give European companies some competitive advantage over others given their extensive expertise. However, Europe faces stiff competition from China: Beijing agreed to lend Turkmenistan around $3 billion for the development of the field in 2009 and also recently opened a direct pipeline between the two countries spanning almost 2.000 km. It took the Chinese less than three years to construct and finalize this massive project. The EU’s operating structure does not allow for the European Commission to extend a

similar type of ‘state-backing’ project. At present, there are no strong indications that Turkmen gas is to flow westwards anytime soon.

Kurdish Northern Iraq A second alternative is for Nabucco to source gas from North Iraq. The majority of Iraq’s natural gas resources 3 are associated with oil field exploration. Fewer than 20 percent of its known reserves are non-associated autonomous gas fields, the majority of which are concentrated in the Kurdish region in the northern third of federal Iraq. 4 Aware of the region’s potential and its strategic location along the Southern Corridor, several of Nabucco’s consortium members have signed Memoranda of Understanding with Kurdish Iraq. In May 2010, Austrian OMV, and Hungarian MOL agreed to invest $8 billion in the Kurdish Iraqi gas fields and each bought around a 10 percent stake in Pearl Petroleum, which develops the Khor Mor gas field. Both companies claimed they could pump as much as 30bcm annually 5, half of which could

flow to Europe and fill roughly 50 percent of Nabucco. A similar cooperation agreement was signed by German RWE in August 2010. Statements by the Iraqi Kurdistan’s Natural Resource Minister claimed that up to 20 bcm per year could be pumped into Nabucco to bring gas to Turkey and Europe. As promising as these deals may sound, gas supplies from North Iraq face significant obstacles. First, the governments in Baghdad and Kurdish northern Iraq have a long-standing dispute concerning the distribution of oil and gas wealth. Second, internal disagreements between Iraq’s political parties continue to exist over what role international energy companies should be granted in the country’s natural resources sector. Baghdad is careful about granting legitimacy to any deals struck between international energy companies and the Kurdish North, over fears it may lose sovereignty over the resources. Kurdish Iraq may very well have the legal right to sign contracts independently, but it is unlikely that the EU or US would support the export of gas without Baghdad’s approval. Moreover, any such deal will not be welcomed by Turkey over fears that it would exacerbate its own domestic problems with its Kurdish minority. Essential to overcome the stalemate is the ratification of Iraq’s much debated – and awaited – hydrocarbon law. Originally drafted in 2007, the law outlines a regulatory and policy development framework for future oil and gas exploration and production in Iraq. Now that Iraq has finally formed a government, it is expected that a decision concerning the law will be made before the end

of 2011. Though this constitutes some form of progress, it cannot realistically be expected that an agreement on the law will automatically mean that Nabucco has its alternative source of gas to convince Azerbaijan.

The Next Best Alternative Nabucco’s future looks bleak. The prospects of the 31bcm pipeline tapping into alternative gas sources for Europe are in jeopardy. Contrary to popular reasoning, Nabucco’s position is not due to a head-to-head race with the Russian South Stream project, which the latter is subsequently said to be winning. Rather, given that neither northern Iraq nor Turkmenistan will deliver soon, it is unlikely that Nabucco will find an alternative source to Azeri gas. Moreover, taking into account the reticence of SOCAR and the EU to engage financially in supporting Nabucco until full capacity is reached, it is more likely that the final decision will be in favor of the ITGI or TAP projects. Such an outcome would mean a lower gas capacity for Europe and hence a lower transit income for countries such as Turkey. However, it is important to stress that such a scenario does not need to be to put an end to Nabucco, nor Turkey’s ambitions to be Europe’s transit hub in the long term. What is important however is for Brussels to anticipate such an outcome and put its weight behind the best possible alternative. Nabucco does not have to be discarded – on the contrary: both TAP and ITGI can serve as a first step for its eventual construction. Both pipes tie into existing pipeline networks between Greece and Turkey, and further on eastwards.

TAP has a leading comparative edge over ITGI both in terms of capacity and cost-effectiveness. As TAP can be expanded over time to transport 20bcm per year, this means that – when constructed – Nabucco could transport an additional 10bcm per annum onwards to (Western) Europe via Turkey. With ITGI running at a maximum annual capacity of 12bcm, this leaves it with a mere 2bcm surplus capacity. Therefore, although it is unlikely that Nabucco will be awarded the Shah Deniz II contract in the short term, it does not mean it cannot profit from the construction of other pipelines along its route in the long run. With Nabucco’s capacity exceeding both that of TAP and ITGI, Nabucco would benefit most from a pipeline along its route through which it could ship larger quantities of gas, should more sources become available over time. It is the EU’s best interest to support the TAP project, rather than ITGI. Better to start small and go bigger. Turkey will benefit either way.

01. Natural gas condensate is a lowdensity mixture of hydrocarbon liquids that are present as gaseous components in the raw natural gas produced from gas fields. 02. The Nabucco consortium consists of German RWE, Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Energy Holding, Turkish Botas and Romanian Transgaz.

03. According to the 2010 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Iraq was home to 3.17tcm of natural gas at the end of 2009. 04. US Energy Information Administration, (2010), Country Analysis/Briefs: Iraq 05. Author’s calculations.

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The SouthEastern Anatolia Project

Atatürk Dam

(Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, GAP)

Constructing Canals

The GAP aims to improve the quality of living and use natural resources to reduce inter-regional disparities while contributing to national development and social stability targets of Turkey. To reach the targets of the GAP Master Plan, investments of 43 billion Turkish Liras (~20 billion Euros) are needed. At the end of 2010, the total spending for the project reached 33.7 billion TL, corresponding to 80 percent overall.

Canal construction to transport stored water to plains and crop fields started under the GAP Action Plan with 1,649 km of canals to be built by 2012.

10 hydraulic power plants are completed, corresponding to 74 percent of investments. With the operation of the hydraulic power plants, 337.7 billion kWh of electrical energy has been produced and a substantial part of Turkey’s energy needs is being met. The monetary value of this energy production is 203 billion US dollars (1 kWh=6 cents). 17 percent of envisaged projects are already in operation, 3.5 percent are under construction and 79.5 percent are at planning stage. 15 dams, including the Atatürk Dam, are built and can potentially irrigate 1 million hectares of land. 308,535 hectares are now being irrigated and construction of irrigation facilities is in progress for another 63,955 hectares. Adding

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32,000 hectares brought under irrigation by the TİGEM in Ceylanpınar, the total land brought under irrigation in the GAP region reaches 340,535 hectares. Regional employment has risen from 1,329,000 in 2009 to 1,547,000 in 2010. The regional contribution to national employment rose to 16.5 percent of the total. Despite decreases in unemployment, in terms of labour force participation, the GAP region remains below the national average. In 2010, regional exports have risen to over $5 billion, consisting of 4.5 percent of Turkey’s national exports that amounted to $113 billion. In the first quarter of 2011, regional exports are estimated at $940 million, a 32 percent increase since last year.

The construction of three main canals that will be 386 km long and reaching 403,782 hectares is underway. The 138 km Lower Mardin Main Canal covering 211,075 hectares is 90 percent complete. The 48 km main canal in Suruç Plain Pumped Irrigation Facility will cover 94,814 hectares and is 69 percent completed. The 17.5 km part of the Suruç Canal consists of a giant tunnel with diameter of 7 metres and so far 3,100 meters is finished. The Main Canal in Kralkızı – Tigris Gravity Irrigation will cover 97,893 hectares. The 202 km canal was contracted out in three parts and has advanced by 41, 30 and 7 percent respectively. The GAP Master Plan aims

to reach completion by

the end of 2012. Revolving around four development

axes, GAP contains 73 major

actions and over 300 projects.

Four other main canals total 252 km. The main canal of the 182.8 km Bozova Pumped Irrigation Scheme will irrigate 20,319 hectares. Also completed is the tender process relating to the 70.1 km main canals of left and right bank that will irrigate 74,627 hectares under the Suruç Plain Pumped Irrigation.

Irrigation Networks One of the major components of GAP to irrigate 193,000 hectares, the Silvan Project was included in 2010 and part of the project – Pamukçay Dam – was contracted out. Also in progress are Batman Left and Right Bank Irrigation, Kralkızı-Tigris Pumped Irrigation Part I, Kralkızı-Tigris Gravity Irrigation Part I, Belkıs-Nizip Pumped Irrigation, Kılavuzlu Irrigation and Kayacık Plain Irrigation. The Çetintepe Dam under the AdıyamanGöksu-Araban Project was included in the 2010 Investment Program.

This is the single largest land

consolidation initiative in Turkey and in the world.

Land Consolidation

Accompanying irrigation, cultivation areas are being reshaped for modern farming. Land consolidation covers 2 million hectares under 75 different projects of the Action Plan. The figure is impressive when compared to 1 million hectares of land consolidation taking place within a century. The consolidation area tendered today is much larger than the target set by the Action Plan. Crop fields and villages enjoy irrigation, sewage networks and newly built roads. In these areas, soil analysis and mapping works have been completed

together with 3,862 crop field paths plus septic tanks and sewage facilities for 596 villages.

The GAP Action Plan Transformations have begun in the region from agricultural support schemes to rural development and from crop farming to stock breeding. There will be an Irrigation Training Centre in Şanlıurfa and a GAP International Research and Training Centre in Diyarbakır to provide services to Middle Eastern and African countries as well. Farmers are provided grant support to establish agricultural cooperatives, equipment acquisition, irrigation systems and stock breeding. Within the Agricultural Organization Projects, 59 cooperatives were provided loans of 104 million TL in the period 2008-2010. Upon project implementation, annual milk output was 19,500 tons and to meat production is 475 tons. When the projects of all cooperatives included in the program are realized, 3,132 persons will be employed and 25,740 animals will be distributed with outputs of meat and milk of 1,670 and 61,340 tons respectively. The GAP Action Plan ensures access to irrigation water for farmers, and upon usage farmers can now use the drip and sprinkle system which increases yields while saving water. The “agricultural research project” and “organic farming clusters” are also cooperating with regional universities. Farmers receive training through these projects. 426 projects were incorporated into the Program for Supporting Rural Development Investments; 398 of these projects created employment for 4,584 persons.

Income generating projects have been launched for people who live in places other than irrigated areas. In selected pilot areas, many alternatives have been developed including the grafting of wild trees, beekeeping; mushroom, rose and fodder crop culture and sericulture. Enterprises with 50 or more animals engaged in milk farming are supported. In 2009 and 2010, 201 applications were found worth supporting and 22,773 pregnant heifers and 165 units of milking equipment were provided, with potential yields of 79,345 tons of milk and 1,973 tons of meat produced annually. From 2008-10, reforestation activities in the region covered 6,101 hectares, rehabilitation on 2,160 hectares, erosion control on 18,748 hectares and pasture rehabilitation on 450 hectares, and 28,772,000 saplings were produced. Out of 48,050 hectares covered by the GAP Action Plan, reforestation work has been completed on 27,549 hectares, corresponding to 57 percent overall. The Action Plan aims to complete 2,209 kilometres of state and provincial highways and highway bridges. Regional roads are being constructed and opened to traffic. GaziantepŞanlıurfa motorway is now open. Şanlıurfa-Kızıltepe-Silopi route (351 km) is 75 percent completed. Two-way divided roads are now open to traffic for 60 km on Diyarbakır-Mardin road (91 km) and for 119 km on DiyarbakırSiverek-Şanlıurfa Road (187 km). The Siirt-Eruh road (53 km) is 75 percent done. 19.5 km of Cizre-Şırnak line (53 km) is open as well. 98 km long Gölbaşı-Adıyaman-Kahta Road is the new project of 2010. Under the Action

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Plan, Bismil, İncirli, Şehvelet, Saklan, Dicle and Çınar bridges as well as Kurmuşlu and Ambarçay bridges have been completed. Almost all main provincial cities have airports. Batman Airport Terminal Building, one of the most modern buildings in Turkey, was completed and construction of Şırnak Airport has started. Other activities under the GAP Action Plan, including water, housing, health, literacy, schooling and education infrastructure, are rapidly progressing across the region. GAP will bring success, regional and national development and wealth. Investments in the GAP region will enhance Turkey’s competitive power in the 21st century and contribute significantly to the country’s security in terms of food and energy. Courtesy of the Turkish Ministry of State.


Towards Regional Stability and Peace Ancient Upper Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent cover almost one-tenth of the Turkey’s total land area. Ten percent of Turkey’s population lives there and one-fifth of irrigated land is located in the Euphrates-Tigris plains.

The Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) focuses on this geographical area where the first civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean were born. This area has been a crossroads of trade routes since prehistoric times. Once part of the historic Silk Road, Turkey controls access to the passage of oil and natural gas today. The GAP is of strategic national importance located in such a pivotal region for the security and development of Turkey. Dursun Yildiz is a Turkish Water Resources Engineer Specialist on Hydro-politics

Writer: Dursun Yildiz

Dissuading Downstream Discontent Syria and Iraq were strongly against this project because of the implied decrease in their water supply. However, the GAP could create positive effects for regional stability between Turkey and neighboring Arab countries.

Bridge over Euphrates New Highway between Gaziatep and Sanliurfa

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There is no other alternative than the GAP; regional opposition to progress must radically shift in favor of more cooperation. This is the largest integrated development project revolving around the efficient management and usage of water.

Cooperation over Water As regional relations develop with improved water management, this indispensable natural resource will be used more efficiently, which will be an important step towards easing water shortages in the region. Water can be a tool for peace and collaboration.

Irrigation Channels

In December 2009, Turkey’s Prime Minister went to Syria along with 10 ministers and 250 business representatives to advance such collaboration. Fifty-one pre-agreements were signed during this visit concerning transport, trade and water issues. The GAP facilitates the furthering of joint-venture investments. Just as the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have served the development of civilizations throughout history, so the river basins can be a source of contemporary cooperation. Developing interdependency over shared water management will lessen dependency on foreign products as well. Middle East countries meet their food demand with imports from the EU, USA, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia.

AtatĂźrk Dam

Dams, irrigation systems, agro-based manufacturing industry, new transportation networks; education, health and modern residential infrastructure will come to be in Southeast Anatolia which will affect the populations on either side of the borders.

The food market of the Middle East is about $30 billion today. If GAP reaches completion, a significant amount of food demand will be met regionally. Geographical proximity and similarities in consumption patterns also point to more cooperation. Contrary to popular belief, the construction of GAP dams can be positive: during summer drought periods in 2009 and 2010 Turkey was able to assist in meeting the water demands of Syria and Iraq with these dams.

Bringing Peace and Stability

Via the GAP, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran will have a built-in regional economic integration structure. Common interests should bring these countries closer together and increase socio-economic interdependency and cultural dynamics.

As interdependency increases and regional cooperation develops among riparian states, problems from the past will be solved more easily. The GAP plays a key role for water management and could be the golden key to regional conflict resolution.

The GAP completion will augment cooperation in sectors such as food products, agriculture, industry, and technology for water management and resource training. Rural development, education levels and employment will increase as well.

However, rapid developments and changes in international relations among the basin countries will not be welcomed by interfering external powers. This has to be a project led by Turkey and endorsed by regional players.

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Turkey now ranks 16th in the global economy. With a consistent average growth of 4 percent since 1950, Turkey has its sights set on being #10 by 2023. To feed its energy needs which increase by 8 percent annually it is investing billions of U.S. dollars each year in new projects. To meet the tremendous domestic energy demand, Turkey is preparing to invest at least $200 billion in the energy sector by 2030, and is opening major energy firms to mergers and acquisitions with foreign partners. Writer: Orhan Coşkun

Turkey’s 98 percent dependence on imported natural gas and 96 percent on foreign oil are leading causes of the current economic deficit. All future energy projects will therefore have a direct bearing on the country’s macro-economic balances.

In 2010, Turkey’s budget deficit stood at $27 billion, its current deficit at $48.5 billion and its foreign trade deficit at $72 billion – $34 billion of which was from energy imports. Understandably, Turkey is now striving to break free of its reliance on foreign energy resources by turning to extensive hydrocarbon exploration in its national territory and waters as well as in neighboring countries. It has also launched concrete steps to build its nuclear power plants, a project envisaged for nearly 50 years, but never brought to life. The country enjoys a great advantage

due to its geostrategic position linking Europe and Asia, while the government has pursued a foreign policy of cooperation with all its neighbors as part of its drive to become a political and economic power. Considering its fortu­nate geographic location, Turkey is a natural junction for many regional pipeli­nes. Ankara is set on becoming an oil and gas hub in the near future with the Nabucco (Turkey-to-Austria) gas pipeli­ne and the existing oil pipeline from Kirkuk in Iraq to the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan as well as a number of other new lines.

Natural Gas: The Trump Card With a robust banking sector, Turkey plowed through the global financial crisis without major harm to its energy sector. Ankara aims to become a transit country for existing and planned gas pipeline and then aims to trade natural gas to be supplied via regional pipelines. This brings into play one of the most important projects Turkey is involved in: the Nabucco gas pipeline project will create the 4th conduit to Europe for Caspian and Middle East resources. Enjoying friendly relations with regional countries, namely Azerbaijan and Iraq, Turkey ultimately plans to be able to transfer gas to the Balkans and Europe that it will draw from this pipeline under contracts that permit re-exports. The natural gas project ITGI (TurkeyGreece-Italy Interconnector) is another major initiative that figures in Turkey’s aspirations to become an energy hub.

The first phase between Turkey and Greece is already operational and as negotiations proceed for the GreeceItaly stretch, Turkey continues to export 750 million cubic meters of gas it receives from Azerbaijan to Greece since 2008. ITGI was Turkey’s initial connection to Europe and Ankara is now planning on extending this line to the Balkans as well. And yet another project that Turkey is involved in is the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) which aims to transport natural gas from the Middle East to Switzerland. This is critically important for Turkey because Ankara has secured the option of buying into this project which is planned to carry Iranian gas to Europe via Turkey. Russia’s South Stream project – considered a rival to Nabucco – also passes through Turkey’s exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea. As Turkey’s biggest gas supplier with an annual 30 bcm gas exports, Russia holds a special place for Ankara’s energy strategy. Moscow signed on to help build Turkey’s first nuclear power station in Akkuyu and is expected to provide resources for the Samsun-Ceyhan line which will be carrying Russian and Kazakh oil to the Mediterranean.

Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin has been increasing cooperation between Turkey and Russia especially during their respective energy expansion over the last five years. Though Brussels is wary, as Turkey waits in the European accession antechamber, Ankara continues to explore other options. Lastly, Turkey expects to become linked to the Arab gas network with ­­the Turkey-Syria pipeline to be completed in November 2011. This will provide direct access to Qatari, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian natural gas resources; in return, these countries will gain the opportunity to export their gas to Europe. Expecting to become one of the most important producers of the region, Iraq plans to send its gas to Turkey and onwards to the global market in 2015 with newly planned lines. The two countries are still engaged in negotiations over this matter but construction of the pipelines is likely to begin in the coming years.

These projects could add up to a yearly total 110 bcm of gas to be transported to Turkey out of which at least 55 bcm would be relayed to other markets. To this end, Turkey is currently involved in talks to Enjoying close proximity, Russia is in a key position develop the to create even greater energy synergies with Turkey. location of Mosow’s planned South Stream project Ahiboz near Ankara as a gas hub from does not yet cross Turkish territory, but which all sales activity can be coordiis vital for Ankara because as the pros- nated. A number of European countries pects for the feasibility of the Nabucco led by Austria which does not relish line wane, the chances increase for Tur- the idea of a rival country, are known key to become a shareholder in the rival to frown on this overall strategy but it South Stream project. A close personal seems highly unlikely that Turkey will friendship between prime ministers give them up.

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Exploring Oil Fields Turkey’s biggest energy dependency is imported oil from Russia. Most countries in its region are oil producers, but Turkey has been able to locate only very small quantities of low-quality oil in limited areas. In an all-out effort to explore for national oil reserves, over the past eight years Turkey has progressively increased its earlier modest allocations for oil exploration activities to $4.6 billion. Turkish state oil company TPAO continues to explore in the Black Sea in collaboration with ExxonMobil, Chevron and Brazil’s Petrobras. Initial results are expected from these explorations by the end of 2011. The Turkish public’s hopes for a major oil find have increased with investments from foreign oil giants ranging from $250 million to $750 million for their Black Sea explorations.

invest of billions of U.S. dollars in these exclusive Turkish zones.

With Iraqi export oil carried to the north and on to the Ceyhan terminal in Turkey, there is no doubt the two countries will enjoy enhanced relations and closer collaboration.

Inland, a number of U.S. oil companies are becoming noticeably interested in exploring for oil in Anatolia with increasingly larger budgets. And in keeping with its steadfast efforts to produce its own oil, Turkey is also striving to enhance is regional influence through oil pipelines. The 50 million ton capacity BakuTbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline continues to operate as an assured sign of a significant regional alliance.

projects are likely to encourage and spawn the building of more power stations like those Turkish private sector firms are currently constructing in Iraq. Likewise, the 70 million ton capacity of the Samsun-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline (planned to be built jointly by Turkey’s Çalık and ENI of Italy) is one of Turkey’s foremost energy projects. This project has the ultimate aim of reducing tanker traffic through the Turkish Straits. Negotiations over Russia’s engagement in the project – both as oil supplier and as a shareholder – are expected to be concluded in 2011. The finalization of these projects will imply that approximately 10 percent of the commercial oil in the world will move via Turkey.

Ankara wants to ensure that the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline become more efficiently uitilzed – its 70 million ton capacity is larger than the BTC. For this purpose, plans Turkey has formed partnerships with major oil have been made to companies for maritime exploration, focusing give priority to revampmainly on the Black Sea, and also in the ing the Iraqi section of Mediterranean now. the pipeline. Also in the Although the matter gives rise to peri- works, are plans to ensure the secure Additionally, Turkey plans to transform odic political tensions with the Greek and stable export of Iraqi oil not only Ceyhan into a center for the energy Cypriots and Greece, explorations in from the Gulf, but via another pipeline industry and provide for the collecthe Mediterranean are slated to begin to be constructed to carry it north to be tion of around 200 million tons of oil as well, to be followed by similar work shipped westwards over Turkey. These annually at this port. Provided Turkey in the Aegean Sea. Despite possible Istanbul Canal Project tensions with Greece over the issues of continental shelf and territorial Turkey has always been deeply concerned by the congested waters, Turkey plans to start exploring traffic through the Bosphorus Strait and sought for ways to in the area around its Aegean island of reduce it. Ankara recently announced that it is considering the Gökçeada (Imroz). construction of a second canal, man-made this time, next to the Bosphorus at a location which has not yet been disclosed. However, this venture seems more of an electoral campaign In 2011, Turkey will concentrate on seistool than a realistic project. This vague project to replicate mic explorations in the Mediterranean. a Panama Canal style waterway is extremely nebulous and Together with leading foreign oil compathe government will need to fight long and hard to procure nies, Turkey will take concrete steps to financing while environmental considerations will also explore its exclusive economic waters. constitute a huge challenge. Foreign companies are expected to

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is successful in realizing this project, Ceyhan will certainly wish to challenge Rotterdam and by the advantage of time-zone difference, attempt to ensure a role for itself as a player in the setting of international oil prices. Approximately $10 billion worth of investments to Ceyhan can be expected for projects ranging from liquid natural gas (LNG) combined cycle gas-fired power plants to an oil refinery. Many international companies are scouting around for investment opportunities.

Nuclear Plants During the last 50 years, Turkey has repeatedly but unsuccessfully enticed international tenders to build nuclear power plants to ensure supply security and resource diversity. After negotiations concluded at the end of 2010, a significant breakthrough was achieved: ditching the previous tendering processes, Turkey signed an accord with Russia to build and operate a nuclear plant at Akkuyu, Mersin, with a first unit of the 5,000 MW plant to be operational in 2019. However, as the formalities of the accord were being concluded, the devastating earthquake in Japan shifted public opinion in Turkey, as elsewhere in the world, against nuclear energy and the resulting suspicion and reaction is likely to make it harder for the government to drum up support for the venture. The nuclear plant is located precariously close the Ecemis fault-line as well making it prone to be a potential nuclear disaster. The government which is planning to build a second nuclear plant with Japan on the Black Sea and follow-

ing that a third plant near the Bulgarian border, will most certainly have to overcome serious domestic opposition if it is intent on realizing these plans. Turkey currently commands a total power capacity of 51,000 MW and the government has said it is determined to provide an additional 15,000 MWs with nuclear power. South Korea, France, Canada and the U.S. as well as other nuclear powers of the world, are closely following Turkey’s progress in acquiring nuclear power. As the energy deficit and need of the region grow significantly with each pas­ sing day, Turkey proposes to engage in selling electricity primarily to its neighbors and secondly to African countries. It also envisages a power exchange with EU countries over the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO) as well as other power links it has established in 2010. As energy becomes the most valuable commodity of the future, access to it will be of prime importance in terms of regional balances. And with the energy boost Turkey expects from its nuclear plants in the coming years, it will have the opportunity to profitably export more and more of its increasing energy supply.

Emerging Renewable Energy While seeking new methods and cheaper resources to lessen its dependence on imported energy, Turkey took legal steps in December 2010 to give greater prominence to local resources.

tion of renewable energy resources, led by solar and wind power. Public incentives for this sector are below local and foreign expectations, the new law encourages joint ventures, and investments are already lined-up to boost this energy field. The share of renewable resources in Turkey’s total energy production, excluding hydroelectric plants, is only 3 percent but will increase at least

two-fold in the next five years.

In wind power, investments have pushed the total capacity to 1,300 MW and investors are being granted licenses to achieve a target of 8,000 MW by the year 2020. Turkey is preparing for tenders, which will need billions of U.S. dollars worth of investments. New hydroelectric plants are also being built while aging plants are being turned over to the private sector. With the creation of new clusters, including Renewable Energy, Turkey will become a regional hub for renewable energy. Turkey is striving to spread its power by using its energy diplomacy. Ankara aims to establish direct reach into an extensive geographic space via pipelines and power lines. Following changes sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, Turkey is a leading candidate to have a more influential role in the region. Thanks to its population of 75 million with a young majority, Turkey is on course to obtain significant dynamism from its diverse energy ventures.

The object of Law No. 6094 on Renewable Energy is to increase the utiliza-

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Turkish Soap Operas:

“Neo-Ottoman” influence? A daily addiction Writer: Farah Aridi

Farah Aridi is a Lebanese writer, critic, blogger and founder of the emerging artist collective B-Beirut.

Mohannad and Noor, Lamis, Hanzada and Ghaleb, and Assi, among many others are all “Arabized” names of Turkish protagonists who have been invading TV screens across the Arab world for the past few years. The public has taken a liking (many are addicted) to accompanying these fictitious characters on a daily basis and has also fancied the simple Syrian dialect in which these series have been dubbed. Compared to the earlier Latin-American wave of soap operas which glued the Arab public to TV screens, this Turkish invasion is of a stronger mould. Not only did the producers Arabize the names, and choose a colloquial dialect instead of the previously-used formal one, but regardless of the content, plot and storyline, the cultural background of the protagonists, their traditions and values are akin to those of the conservative Arab world. Whether viewers belong to one confessional group or another, Arabs and especially Muslims can relate most to these series. Turkish soap operas provide Arab-Muslim viewers, particularly those living in highly conservative and religious cultures, with an alternative to their everyday life and the confinements of social norms with which they must comply. In Saudi Arabia, the show Gümüş or Noor was forbidden and given a fatwa. Turkish TV series portray, describe, and reflect upon being Muslim in a different light; one which is not based on a politics or stereotypes. Being Muslim is addressed through the characters from within a cultural, sometimes religious framework, but that is at the same time liberating to fit Turkey’s secular nature. Although Egypt already produced liberating, seductive, sexual and action-oriented series and films, the Turkish depiction of Muslim cultural values are conveyed alongside action-filled scenarios.

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Muslim characters can be killers, con-men, kidnappers, heroes, and cops defending the honor of a family or district, or avenging someone or some incident. Family, honor, religious belonging, and dignity are elements strongly highlighted in Turkish soap operas and highly appreciated and respected by ArabMuslim viewers. The dilemmas and social problems raised by these dramas are also commonly faced by Arab viewers. In other words, the content, plot, and storyline hit home in the Arab world. The influence of the Turkish TV series on Arab viewers is seen in the daily addiction to watching the shows and reruns, and some have even gone so far as naming their children after the protagonists of the shows they like most. As a result of the cultural opening of Turkey to the Arab world, a huge number of Arabs have been travelling to visit Noor and Mohannad’s mansion in Istanbul, thus increasing Turkey’s touristic rates. A positive outcome of the so-called invasion on both Turkey and the Arab world has emerged.

A new foreign policy Turkish drama series have affected Turkey’s foreign affairs with the Arab world. The flotilla incident in May 2010 which led to the killing of Turkish activists by Israeli soldiers who raided the ship destined to reach Gaza and loaded with humanitarian aid, played a major role. Turkey was the first Muslim state to acknowledge the State of Israel, but its political stance towards Tel Aviv after the flotilla fiasco created rapprochement with the Arab world. Though shared cultural similarities go back to the 600 years of Ottoman rule over some Arab countries including Syria and Lebanon, Turkey’s relationship with Israel has always been a controversy. One series in particular reflects mainstream Turkish opinion:

an Israeli character is illustrated as vile while the Arab protagonist is a hero avenging the death of the Turks killed on the Mavi Marmara ship. In the series Valley of Wolves: Palestine, now turned into a movie franchise, Israel is depicted as callous and cruel. Believed to aggravate tensions between Turkey and Israel, protests erupted after the release of the movie Valley of the Wolves [Kurtlar Vadisi]. However, the series continues to highlight the brutality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as the shaky relationship between the West and the Middle East. Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, also a Turkish production, did not only include the sadistic practices in Abu Ghraib but also depicted Americans and particularly Jewish-

Americans in a very bad light (such as the doctor who used to cut up Abu Ghraib victims and sell their organs). Regardless of the scriptwriters’ intentions, the commonality between the Muslims in the Arab world who associate, sympathize with, or defend the Palestinian cause, and the Muslims of Turkey has been highlighted and intensified. The neo-Ottoman invasion of the Arab world has succeeded in catering to viewers’ tastes, beliefs, and customs at the cultural, religious and political levels. Arab viewers are bound to relate to at least by one of these levels whether through the true stories or stereotypes of these very popular TV series.


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foreign Melodramas The Cold War is over and foreign policy is not a zero-sum game – this is what Ankara responds to debates suggesting that Turkey is moving away from the West. Turkey’s relations with Middle East countries are blossoming thanks to its “zero problems with neighbors” policy. Assuming the policy of free visas with neighboring states, Ankara is creating a new model in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans and Caucasus.

Writer: Emine Kart

Emine Kart is Diplomacy Correspondent at Today’s Zaman.

“We are not fully aware of the importance of abolishing visas. You won’t need a visa to travel from Amman or Beirut to Edirne. This is incredible – we will be rid of artificial borders,” Cüneyt Yüksel, a Mardin deputy from the ruling AK Party, stated in January 2010 long before the latest upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa. Yüksel argued that Turkey’s efforts to lift visa requirements benefit its own people and those of other nations. During the regional revolts, an article entitled “Ottoman adventures hold lessons for our leaders” published in The Independent by Rober Fisk [March 26, 2011] claimed that “old Constantinople is a tonic, a reminder amid minarets and water, palaces and museums and bookshops and an ancient parliament and a thousand fish restaurants that this really was the only united capital the Arabs ever had.” In this article, Fisk ingeniously turns to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proclamation that efforts to build a “multi­ cultural” society had “utterly failed” in Germany, noting that this proclamation was also supported by UK’s David Cameron, “who knows as much about Turkish migrants as he does about Libyan history.” “For in reality, this is false history. Germany never embarked on any kind of altruistic experiment in ‘multiculturalism’. Turks came to Germany to do the work which Germans did not want to do. The Gastarbeiter were encouraged to go to Germany to provide cheap labour rather than to act as guests in some extraordinary social programme of inter-cultural advancement […] Ataturk, of course, wanted Turkey to be European as

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much as Merkel and Cameron would prefer the Turks all went back to the Ottoman Empire. Maybe, however, our masters in Europe (Sarkozy, just as much as Cameron) would do well to browse through a biography of Ataturk in these heady days. The Balkan war forced the Ottomans to abandon Cyrenaica and accept the Italian annexation of Libya,” Fisk recalled. “Zero problems with neighbors” policy is the brainchild of Turkey’s academic-turned Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu who in response to various media outlets on several occasions rejects that he ever said he is a neo-Ottoman. The motive behind Davutoğlu’s misquotation can be found in articles tying the so-called ‘neo-Ottoman’ Turkish foreign policy with the spread of Turkish soap operas across the Middle East. Some say that this neo-Ottoman policy, currently wooing Arab countries, advances both a cultural and political agenda. Portraying the Israelis as villains in one soap opera is one way of appealing to the Arab masses. Such stereotypes are prevalent in the thriller series by Pana Productions, Kurltar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves), as well as in less violent tones in others Turkish soap operas.

Aşk-ı Memnu (Forbidden Love) is a Turkish romantic drama television series, adapted from Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil’s novel Aşk-ı Memnu, and aired in 2008-2010 relocating the novel’s story to Istanbul in the early 2000s. This is just one of the many Turkish melodramas – not to mention the police thrillers – that are broadcasted daily on Arab television screens. The most important aspect of these TV series is the presence of strong women characters and this female presence cannot solely be explained through the secular Turkish Republic since some leading television shows are adapted from significant novels written when the Ottoman Empire was falling apart. The influence of Turkish soap operas is therefore more nuanced. Davutoğlu says that he does not accept the term “neo-Ottomanism” because the “Turkish Republic is a modern nation-state and is equal status with Middle East countries. We can build relations with any country located previously within Ottoman outreach. This is what modern diplomacy requires.” “The sultans used to call Beirut the jewel in the crown of the Ottomans, but two days walking the streets of modern Istanbul – its tens of thousands thronging past the old trams on Independence Street – made me understand for the first time just how tiny a place Lebanon was on the great Ottoman map.” Robert Fisk


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Gallery + REVOLVE

Three emerging artists living and working in Istanbul

Istiklal cad. No:48 Rumeli Han C-49 Beyoglu 34435 Istanbul

tel: +90 212 252 4296 mobile +90 532 233 6300 e-mail

Gözde İlki̇ Gözde İlkin creates her art on fabric, canvas, paper, and found objects. She embroiders stories, either by hand or machine, on these surfaces with black and white or colored thread. At first glance, her figures appear as men and women, amorphous bodies attached to one another. Through interventions on the texture, İlkin completes her work with strings left un-sewn or a single layer of acrylic paint. She sometimes borders these body-geographies with stitches on the texture of the embroi“age revolution”, 2009, 68 x 49 cm paint and stitching on fabric

“status of home: kitchen man”, 2008, 42 x 47 cm paint and stitching on fabric

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dery fabric. The act of sewing transforms the fabric itself. Gözde İlkin was born in Kütahya in 1981 and lived in various regions of Turkey until university. She studied painting at the Fine Arts Faculty of Mimar Sinan University and is studying towards a master’s degree at Marmara University in Istanbul. She’s taken part in international artist exchange programs in the Netherlands and Germany, and in exhibitions in Stockholm and Rotterdam. In Turkey, her works have been displayed at many venues, such as Siemens Sanat, Hafriyat, Karşı Sanat, and Tütün Deposu. She is a member of Atılkunst since 2006.

“Destruction: True Owner of Property”, 2011, 104 x 183 cm paint and stitching on fabric

Gallery + REVOLVE

Ceren Oykut The tremendous detail in Ceren Oykut’s drawings is a contemporary take on the Turkish traditions of miniature, caricature, satire, and humor. Comics, which easily establish communication with the public, are one of the most important sources of inspiration for her work. Drawn in black pen on paper or walls, her works have a diary-like quality, bringing a local point of view to today’s world. Oykut reveals the stories of the city, tracing the chaotic lives of city dwellers and contemplating the absurdity of everyday life in Istanbul.

“istediği de”, 2010, 70 x 100 cm, marker on paper

“yumru (detail)”, 2010, 70 x 100 cm, marker on paper

Born in 1978 in Istanbul, Ceren Oykut graduated from the Painting Department of Mimar Sinan University in 2002. The artist, whose drawings have appeared in magazines like L-inc, Kontrol, Roll, and Fuct-D, also works with the music band “Baba Zula” and the collective “Anabala”, where she creates and projects digital images on the stage in real time. She has contributed to projects in Turkey and abroad, in countries such as Belgium, Germany, Austria, Serbia, and Egypt. “Adventures of Water and Earth” 2/3, 2009, 21 x 30 cm marker on paper


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Gallery + REVOLVE

İnci Furni İnci Furni, using pencil, paint and paper narrates the story of an unknown planet. Based on science fiction, her drawings present images that deal with daily issues of secrecy and isolation. Furni gathers these stories under the title Control Room and Dreams as an investigation into the borders of imagination, introducing us to her world; ‘A Journey to Ucubik’ and ‘Laika’ about the first animal to orbit the earth. Strange inventions such as ‘Wha, Wha’, a large fictional instrument, and ‘The Voice Building’, a heavily isolated and strangely constructed building, and numerous surreal specimens of plant-life… Born in Bursa in 1976, İnci Furni has a degree in painting from Mimar Sinan University. Since 2007, she has worked with the Hafriyat Artists’ Collective in addition to producing her own works. Her shows include a solo exhibition, Spirit, within the frame of the Apartment Project; Home Free (2007), which took place in Bilsar; Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Belly (2007), realized as a part of the Special Projects of the 10th Istanbul Biennial; and Unfair Provocation (2009). With Spirit, Furni is among the Turkish artists chosen to participate in the 11th International Istanbul Biennial.

“the cloud that broke in”, 2011, 220 x 295 cm, acrylic on paper

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| Art

“Queer Down the Stairs”, 2011, 200 x 150 cm acrylic on paper

“rustling”, 2011, 150 x 155 cm, acrylic on paper

NEXT: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) At the avant-garde of renewable energy efforts in the Middle East, REVOLVE presents some of the best political deals, energy projects and new art coming out of the Emirates:

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An exclusive interview with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Eco-tourism in the dunes and Bu Tinah Island the largest protected area in Abu Dhabi

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Turkey Report 2011  

Summer 2011 50-page Supplement on Turkey

Turkey Report 2011  

Summer 2011 50-page Supplement on Turkey