Gul Claims Regional Energy Cooperation to Boost Peace

ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)–Turkish President Abdullah Gul Friday claimed that regional cooperation in energy would contribute to regional peace, stability and welfare.

"Energy safety requires development of cooperation among energy producing, consuming and transit countries, and we should turn our mutual independence in energy projects, like Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, into a lucrative cooperation that brings together regional powers, giant companies and actors," Gul said during the International Energy Summit in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.

Gul referred to last August’s crisis in Georgia, and said that it once more confirmed that unsolved regional disputes posed a threat for security and stability in the Caucasus.

The Turkish president said that such disputes should also be resolved for energy safety in Eurasia. "Transportation of Caspian energy resources to European markets safely depends on maintenance of regional stability and establishment of good neighborly relations," Gul said.

He also said that current problems could be solved by building %u218mutual confidence’ among nations living in the South Caucasus.

The Turkish president referred to Turkey’s proposal to set up a stability and cooperation platform in the Caucasus, and said that Turkey’s aim was to make South Caucasus a region which would be an example to the world for the unity and solidarity among neighboring countries.

Turkey’s ideal was also to make the region an area of prosperity, stability and peace that contributed to Europe’s energy safety, Gul said.

"We are determined to cooperate with neighboring countries to achieve this goal," he said.

Gul said that Turkey had developed an East-West energy corridor with Azerbaijan, Georgia and the United States for it was situated in a region which had around two-thirds of oil and gas reserves in the world.

The Turkish president said that the East-West energy corridor consisted of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline.

Over 480 million barrels of crude oil was transported to consumer countries through BTC pipeline as of November 10, Gul said.

Turkey’s president also talked about the Blue Stream natural gas project implemented in cooperation with Russia and Italy in 2003, and the Nabucco project, Turkey-Greece-Italy and Trans-Adriatic natural gas pipeline projects.

"We also hope to transport gas from the east to west of the Caspian one day," Gul said.

Gul also said that Turkey was holding talks with the Iraqi administration to pump Iraqi oil to Turkey and then connect it to the south corridor, and wished that the Iranian gas would also be included in the energy corridor.

"Turkey attaches importance to activating Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline to reduce traffic at the Turkish Straits," Gul said.

Gul also said that activating this line was of vital importance for not only environmental and life security but also strengthening North-South corridor

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