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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-02-12

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 30/08 12.02.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The self-styled prime minister addressed the Turkish Cypriots
  • [02] The Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Union protests against the so-called government
  • [03] A credit agreement was signed between Turkey and the occupation regime
  • [04] Talat sent an angry letter to the Cyprus Peace Platform
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce delegation to hold contacts in the UK
  • [06] The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the OIC held contacts in occupied Cyprus - Five universities of the TRNC were accepted in the Islamic Countries Universities Federation
  • [07] The illegal universities continue to hold contacts abroad
  • [08] The medical faculty in its last phase
  • [09] Ferry services between Latakia and occupied Famagusta have resumed
  • [10] Israeli Defence Minister in Turkey to promote Israeli spy satellite system
  • [11] EU Coordinator for natural gas pipelines to visit Turkey on 14 February
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [12] Energy and the new Cyprus problem
  • [13] Are the KKTC and Abkhazia next?
  • [14] Turkey to become key energy player with Iran: expert

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The self-styled prime minister addressed the Turkish Cypriots

    Illegal Bayrak television (11.02.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has strongly rejected the allegations that there has been a big rise in state employment and said that those making such claims are ignoring the main reasons behind existing economic problems.

    In an address to the nation, the Prime Minister said no solution could be brought to these problems with unrealistic approaches.

    We have the required energy to overcome the difficulties and there is no need for pessimism, the Premier said.

    `Employment and economy` were the two main topics of the Premiers speech, which was broadcast by BRTs first channel and all other television channels in the Republic.

    Prime Minister Soyer said it is very natural for a closed economy to face problems while taking a step towards becoming an open economy.But, he said that the main objective of politics is to bring solutions to the existing problems and called on all circles to work towards achieving this objective.

    Unrealistic approaches cannot bring solutions to problems, and instead, they stand on the way of formulating right policies, he said.

    Providing recent figures for state employment, he explained that a total of 2475 people were employed in state between 2003 and 2007 to provide service for the people throughout the people, reminding that a municipality has employed 500 people in one and half years.

    Rejecting the claims that the economy was ruined as a result of his governments economic policies, he said we have overtaken a situation created by them. At this point, they cannot ignore this.

    The Premier accepted that there is a burden on state budget but said that this was the result of the regulations made on the salaries of state employees and on pensions.

    Stressing the need to establish a balance between state and private employments, he underlined the need to formulate policies to create jobs for youth.

    Pointing to the effects of global warming to the TRNC economy, he stressed that measures are needed to be taken to protect animal production, which he said, was hit badly by draught.

    We have the required energy to overcome the difficulties and there is no need for pessimism, he said.

    [02] The Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Union protests against the so-called government

    Illegal Bayrak television (11.02.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Cyprus Turkish Public Servants Union KAMU-SEN has started a protest action in the capital to protest policies being carried out by the government.

    The National Unity Party [UBP], Democrat Party [DP] and Communal Democracy Party [TDP] have expressed their support to the action.

    The KAMU-SEN set up a tent near the Parliament building to protest the government over the latest increases in the price of dairy products, electricity and fuel.

    The Union distributed milk and candles during their action, which will continue until Wednesday. Members of the Union also distributed leaflets criticizing the government for its economic policies and accusing it of partisanship.

    Speaking during the action, the President of the Union Mehmet Ozkardas accused the government of being in support of big businesses despite promising to bring more democracy, transparency and participation before coming to power.

    On the Cyprus issue, Mr Ozkardas reiterated the unions support for the establishment of a new partnership to be formed by two founding states on the basis of political equality.

    [03] A credit agreement was signed between Turkey and the occupation regime

    Illegal Bayrak television (11.02.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    A 200-million dollar credit agreement has been signed between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey. The credit agreement between the two countries was signed in Ankara.

    The Director of the Turkish Treasury Undersecretary for Foreign Economic Relations Memduh Aslan Aksoy on behalf of Turkey and the Ambassador Tamer Gazioglu on behalf of the TRNC signed the agreement. The credit will be used for the reconstruction of public management and financial sector. The agreement was signed within the framework of the Economic and Financial Cooperation Protocol signed between the two countries in 2006.

    [04] Talat sent an angry letter to the Cyprus Peace Platform

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (12.02.08) reports on its first page that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, sent an angry letter to the Cyprus Peace Platform.

    The paper, which writes that Mr Talat became very angry from the protest made by the platform last week in front of the presidential palace, reports that in the letter Mr Talat sent to the representatives of the Platform, he went too far with the expressions he used. Mr Talat called on the members of the Platform to understand what they read and to listen to the words that come out of their mouths. As Afrika notes, Mr Talat was offended because the Platform did not address him as Esteemed President but as Esteemed Talat.

    Afrika publishes the whole of the letter that Mr Talat sent to the representatives of the Cyprus Peace Platform.

    (CS)

    [05] Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce delegation to hold contacts in the UK

    Illegal Bayrak television (11.02.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    A delegation from the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) went on to Britain today at the end of their contacts in Belgium and the Netherlands.

    During his contacts in both countries, the President of the Chamber of Commerce Hasan Ince stressed the need for immediate lifting of the international isolation on the Turkish Cypriot people.

    The delegation will meet with Head of Britains Cyprus Desk Enlargement and South-East Europe Simon Hornet and British Special Representative for Cyprus Joan Ryan.

    In a statement about his contacts in Belgium and Holland, the President of the Chamber Mr Ince said that they underlined the need for immediate lifting of the international isolation on the Turkish Cypriot people during their talks with EU officials.

    He said that they also drew attention to the fact that the EU has failed to honour its promises to the Turkish Cypriot people and that the Direct Trade Regulation one of the three Regulations prepared by the European Commission has yet to be implemented.

    He said the sanctions on the Turkish Cypriot people are reducing the economic dynamics and are preventing the people from selling and exporting their products.

    Pointing out that the sanctions are not only being imposed on trade, but also in the fields of sports, culture and education, he said that the level of trust among Turkish Cypriots towards the European Union is continuing to fall.

    [06] The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the OIC held contacts in occupied Cyprus - Five universities of the TRNC were accepted in the Islamic Countries Universities Federation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halki Sesi newspaper (12.02.08) reports in its first page that the self-styled foreign minister Turgay Avci stated that five universities of the TRNC were accepted in the Islamic Countries Universities Federation. Mr Avci made these statements yesterday, speaking at a press conference with a delegation of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), which is having contacts in occupied Cyprus. The organization, which is a specialized institution of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), in the field of education, science and culture is visiting occupied Cyprus upon an invitation of the foreign ministry. The delegation, which is headed by the Director General of ISESCO, Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, will remain in occupied Cyprus until the 14th of February.

    Speaking at the press conference, Mr Altwaijri stated, inter alia, that TRNC is a very important part of the Islamic world and added that during its contacts in occupied Cyprus the delegation will have contacts on issues of common interest with various officials. As he stated the aim of their visit is to improve relations with the Turkish Cypriots and added that their visit will create for them an opportunity to learn more about the situation in the TRNC. As he stated they will prepare a report regarding their contacts in occupied Cyprus, which will be presented at the OIC conference which will take place in March.

    On his part, Mr Avci reminded that the TRNC held contacts with various institutions of the OIC during 2007 and added that they intend to continue these contacts in the year 2008 as well. He also stated that five Universities of the TRNC became members of the Islamic Countries Universities Federation, which is the Islamic world Bologna process, as he said, after the great efforts of Mr Altwaijri.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (12.02.08) reports on the same issue on its first page under the title OIC: Support to the Turkish Cypriots until the end.

    (CS)

    [07] The illegal universities continue to hold contacts abroad

    Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (12.02.08) reports that the rector of the illegal Lefka University, Dr Ali Riza Buyukuslu, met in New York with the Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Mr Kemal Dervis. At the meeting the current projects of UNDP in the region and the openings which can be made to (occupied) Cyprus, especially to universities, were evaluated. In addition Dr Buyukuslu gave information regarding the development of the Lefka Universitys projects in occupied Lefka and Morfou.

    Kibris writes that the illegal Keryneia American University (GAU) participated in the European Universities Union Conference which took place on 7-8 of February in Brussels. The paper writes that 125 persons from 30 countries participated in the conference.

    (CS)

    [08] The medical faculty in its last phase

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (12.02.08) reports on its first page that the deputy rector of the illegal Near East University, Dr Cokcekus, stated that the medical faculty will start operating in September 2009. The 45 thousand square meters research hospital of the medical faculty, which is still under construction in the area of the university, will have a 500-bed capacity.

    (CS)

    [09] Ferry services between Latakia and occupied Famagusta have resumed

    Illegal Bayrak television (11.02.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Deputy-Prime Minister Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has announced that regular ferry services between Lazkiye and Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] have been resumed again.

    The ferry services had been organized by Akgunler Firm with a ship carrying the Georgian flag but the services were halted after the intervention of the Georgian authorities under pressure from the Greek Cypriot side.

    From now on, the services will be carried out by a ship carrying the Turkish flag.

    In a statement on the issue, Foreign Minister Avci said the Akgunler Firm has received all the necessary permission from Turkish authorities to launch the services with a ship carrying the Turkish flag.

    Mr Avci said that todays sailing started at Girne [occupied Keryneia] Port instead of Gazimagusa as the ship was docked there, for the Syrian city of Latakia but added that the ferry services will be between Gazimagusa and Latakia as it was in the past.

    Responding to a question on policies being carried out on the Cyprus issue, the Foreign Minister said that the policies formulated together with Turkey will be pursued in the coming process.

    He stressed that the main objective is to bring about a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue but warned that it would not be possible for the Turkish Cypriot side to wait a positive response from the Greek Cypriot side forever.

    He added that the struggle towards making the Turkish Cypriot peoples voice heard will be continued.

    [10] Israeli Defence Minister in Turkey to promote Israeli spy satellite system

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (12.02.08) reports the following:

    Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak will promote the sale of a spy satellite to Turkey and other military deals during a visit to Ankara today, Israeli security sources said on Monday.

    Turkey is the Jewish state's most important regional ally, though relations were strained last year by an Israeli air strike in neighbouring Syria. Ankara has offered to mediate in peace talks between Israel and Damascus or the Palestinians.

    Barak, who begins a two-day visit to Ankara today, will urge his hosts to buy state-run Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) Ofek satellite for an estimated $300 million. This deal has been under discussion for years, but Barak's visit may help clinch it, an Israeli security source said, adding that past talks had been held up by counter-bidding from a French aerospace firm.

    In Ankara, Turkish diplomatic sources described ties between the two countries as very good and confirmed Turkey's interest in intelligence-sharing projects including satellites. The spy satellite is expected to boost the Turkish military's ability to fight the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) by detecting infiltration of the group's members into Turkey from their northern Iraqi bases.

    The sources also said Turkey would raise the situation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with Barak. Israel imposed a blockade on the impoverished Palestinian territory following cross-border rocket and mortar attacks by Hamas and other militant factions.

    Barak has ordered the development of an Israeli anti-rocket system that would be deployed outside Gaza. But Israel is also interested in US alternatives such as Lockheed Martin's Skyshield 35 Air Defence System. Germany is currently testing a version of Skyshield in Turkey, Lockheed Martin vice president Joshua Shani said.

    Shlomo Dror, spokesman for the Israeli Defence Ministry, declined to comment specifically on any sales to Ankara but confirmed that Barak's visit aims to bolster our long-standing strategic ties and bilateral deals.

    Barak will have talks with Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul and head of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. He is also due to meet with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Turkey is currently taking delivery of approximately 10 Heron surveillance drones purchased from IAI for $200 million, the Israeli security source said, and has voiced a preliminary interest in Israel's Arrow II ballistic anti-missile system.

    Israel is the only Middle Eastern country to have built and deployed its own satellites. The first in the Ofek (Horizon) series was launched in 1988. Ofek-7, billed as Israel's eye on arch-foe Iran, went into orbit last year.

    [11] EU Coordinator for natural gas pipelines to visit Turkey on 14 February

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.02.08) reports the following from Ankara and London:

    Jozias van Aartsen, the coordinator of the European Union (EU) for natural gas projects in southern Europe, will arrive in Turkish capital of Ankara on Thursday.

    Aartsen will hold talks with Turkish executives regarding the Nabucco project that aims to transport Central Asian natural gas to Europe via Turkey.Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to receive Aartsen.If they (Turkey) are seeking a relationship with the EU, it is one of the ways to make really clear that they do want a future relationship, Aartsen told the British Financial Times daily before his trip to Turkey.

    The Nabucco pipeline is a planned natural gas pipeline that will transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. Some consider the pipeline as a diversion from the current methods of importing natural gas solely from Russia.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [12] Energy and the new Cyprus problem

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (11.02.08) publishes the following analysis by Ozay Mehmet*:

    Gerhard Schroeder's visit to the Turkish Republic of northern Cyprus early in February 2008 signals the strategic fact that a new Cyprus problem is emerging. The old Turkish-Greek conflict on the island is being replaced by an energy-cantered problem.

    Northern Cyprus is now a strategic territory, dominating a new Turkish energy corridor, the new supply route of oil, and soon natural gas, to Europe. For a long time, the Europeans believed that they could control this region via Greek Cypriots. Make Limassol the trading hub of eastern Mediterranean and push Ankara into opening its ports to international shipping carrying the Greek Cyprus-controlled Flag of Convenience.

    Ankara has called this bluff, not only in the diplomatic front, but, more significantly on the ground in real economic terms. The port of Iskenderun is now the leading oil exporting terminal in the region. Turkish government plans to turn Iskenderun into the Rotterdam of eastern Mediterranean.

    The world, including Schroeder's new Russian friends, is watching. They can see ahead.

    Limassol is declining as a regional centre of shipping. International shipping companies are leaving this port city for more profitable locations in Singapore and elsewhere, giving up the hope that Ankara will dance to the European Union's music.

    Turkish shipping interests cantered in Istanbul expect to cash in on the estimated $1.5 billion worth shipping and transit services linked to the Iskenderun terminal. Ankara is obliged to listen to this important constituency. It will resist opening its ports, as demanded by the EU to Greek Cypriot (i.e. international FOC) shipping, unless and until its own EU membership aspirations are fully met and the EU effectively delivers its promises to the Turkish Cypriots. If EU does not listen to the increasingly disillusioned Turkish Cypriots, it should now listen to Schroeder. He travelled to northern Cyprus to declare that the EU should stop punishing TCs and keep its promise for lifting the Greek Cypriot embargoes on them.

    Subtitle: A new problem: All about energy

    The Turkish Cypriots, in the meantime, are sitting pretty tight, realizing slowly the new geopolitics being played in their backyard. What is not fully realized yet is that the Old Cyprus Problem is dead, having died with the Annan Plan.

    A New Cyprus Problem is on the agenda. It is all about energy, and the control of energy corridor. The new energy problem, cantered on Cyprus, has two dimensions. One if the potential of oil reserves in the territorial waters around the island. The other is the control of sea lanes in waters to the north of northern Cyprus and south of Anatolian coastline, the Turkish Energy Corridor (TEC).

    The oil potential in territorial waters of the island is in disputed waters. The Greek Cypriot authorities have already signed agreements over exploration rights with Egypt and Lebanon, but Turkey, the dominant power in the area, has claimed some of these as its own territorial water. It is unlikely anything will come out of this potential, even if significant oil reserves were to be discovered.

    More important is the TEC. Increasingly, other high-ranking European and international diplomats will follow in the footsteps of Gerhard Schroeder courting northern Cyprus government. Why? By geography, the TEC is similar to the Straits of Hormuz. Nobody would like to see it in unfriendly hands, least of all the Europeans and the Americans. Turks, unlike Iranians, are pro-West, even though to date they have been unfairly treated.

    Subtitle: Not too much longer, though.

    The political implications of TEC are immense. With a divided island, now looking permanently partitioned on account of the impending re-election for a second term of the inflexible Greek Cypriot President Papadopoulos, neither the EU nor the United States nor the world at large, can afford to sit and watch the unresolved Cyprus problem descend into yet another zone of hot conflict in a chaos-ridden world, hungry for oil.

    Gradually but surely, therefore, the coming years will witness a Two-State solution in Cyprus, first by the lifting of political and economic embargoes on northern Cyprus in the international arena, followed by statehood, similar to what is happening in Kosovo.

    (*Ozay Mehmet, PhD, is professor emeritus with the Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada and professor of economics with the Eastern Mediterranean University, northern Cyprus. He can be reached at mehmet5010@rogers.com.)

    [13] Are the KKTC and Abkhazia next?

    Under the above title Today´s Zaman (12.02.08) publishes the following commentary by Hasan Kanbolat:

    Some European countries with regions that have declared their independence unilaterally are holding presidential elections back to back: Georgia (Abkhazia), Serbia (Kosovo), Greek Cyprus (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, KKTC), Armenia and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh).

    In the Georgian elections held on Jan. 5, Mikhail Saakashvili reclaimed his presidency. In Serbia, the second round of the presidential elections was held on Feb. 3 and Boris Tadic won. Both leaders view integration into the European-Atlantic world positively. Greek Cyprus will hold its presidential elections on Feb. 17. The presidential elections in Armenia will be held on Feb. 19 and those of Azerbaijan will be on Oct. 15. Kosovo is expected to declare its independence unilaterally before the EU foreign ministers meeting on Feb. 18.

    Lawyers from the US and the EU, while defending the independence of Kosovo, point to the following differences between Serbia and Kosovo: Since the NATO bombardment in 1999, the Belgrade government has had no influence or sanctions on Kosovo. Kosovo has its own parliament and government. It holds elections freely. It also has an independent army, security forces and a flag as well as a different currency. However, the reasons cited as imperative for independence hold true also for the KKTC and Abkhazia. Therefore, while Turkey and the KKTC view Kosovo's independence positively, Greece and Greek Cyprus have a negative view, despite the generally positive atmosphere in the EU toward Kosovo's independence.

    If the Kremlin fails to prevent Kosovo's independence, it may well bring Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdinyester (Pridnestrovye) and Nagorno-Karabakh to the negotiating table at the UN Security Council. It seems that the likely missile attack the United States planned to launch against Iran's nuclear facilities will also be at the negotiating table in question. We have to wonder whether the Russian Federation will come to terms with the European-Atlantic world regarding the principle of "Velvet Separation" in Kosovo, Abkhazia and the KKTC. That is, will the "Czechoslovakia" solution be possible? Will it really be possible for both pairs of communities -- KKTC-Greek Cyprus and Abkhazia-Georgia -- to officially divorce first and then to be reunited under the EU roof but in different rooms?

    Abkhazia has been strengthening its diplomatic ties with countries still not recognized by the United Nations, including the KKTC. The first visit in this context was made by Abkhazia Deputy Foreign Minister Maxim Gvincija to the KKTC between Jan. 5 and 8. In this way, the relations between the KKTC and Abkhazia were initiated at the official level. The target is to open an Abkhazian consulate there and then to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan and Somaliland, an African state bordered by Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somali that declared its de facto independence from Somalia in 1991.

    Washington's goal is to finalize Kosovo's process of independence prior to NATO's Bucharest summit between April 2 and 4. The United States may try to prevent any resentment from Serbia and Georgia toward Kosovo and Abkhazia by expediting their process of integration into the European-Atlantic world. In fact, despite German and French opposition, the United States wants them to be a part of the Membership Action Plan (MAP), which opened NATO's doors for Georgia. In addition, once the EU initiates cooperation on issues such as political dialogue, trade, visa exemption and education, Serbia may well make headway on becoming a candidate member. On the other hand, it still remains a surprise what sort of gift will be presented to Greek Cyprus as an incentive for divorcing the KKTC.

    If these scenarios don't take place, there may be alternative ones of war. Russia may recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia's independence. Following this decision by Moscow, Armenia may take action to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh. This in turn might cause oil-rich Ilham Aliyev to wage war on Armenia in order to make it into the history books and to remain president until his death. This scenario could subsequently cause Saakashvili to use force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia in order to have the doors of NATO and EU opened more quickly. Consequently, 2008 will be a year when deadlocks over de facto independent European states will not be a solution.

    [14] Turkey to become key energy player with Iran: expert

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (11.02.08) publishes the following analysis:

    Only Iran can balance Russia's dominance in supplying natural gas to European markets and Iran can only carry its reserves to Europe through Turkey, an energy security analyst told the Turkish Daily News, underlining that a recent alliance between Ankara and Tehran would change the global energy balance.

    In fact, Turkey has no intension to challenge Russia which provides 65 percent of its natural gas. But this is Russia that dislikes any of Turkey's moves to diversify its sources. Both countries should see that no any regional energy project is possible without their cooperation, stated Faruk Demir, who also has good connections with the Turkey's Energy Ministry.

    According to Demir, Turkey's energy policy has recently entered into its third phase of being a proactive global energy actor. In the first two phases, Turkey's policy was based on supplying its own energy needs and participating mainly in U.S.-made pipeline projects like Nabucco or transferring Caspian gas to southern Europe. But, Demir explains, since 2006 Turkey has established its own road map to implement its own energy policy that includes two-stage programs.

    One is a terminal program, the other is a corridor program, maintains Demir, explaining that Turkey is considering establishing four energy terminals in Ceyhan, a port in southern Anatolia; one in Igdir, an eastern Anatolian town on the Iranian border; one in Silopi, a south-eastern Anatolian province close to Iraqi border and one in Aliaga, a port on the Aegean cost. For example in the Igdir energy terminal, we could jointly build a refinery, a power plant... depending on the development of our cooperation with Iran. These terminals will be similar to qualified industrial zones where we would provide investors with certain advantages and incentives..., he said.

    However Turkey's main target in this program is to promote Ceyhan as a regional energy hub decorated with a set of plants. In 20 years time 5 percent of the global oil and 3 percent of natural gas would flow to world markets via Ceyhan, Demir added.

    Subtitle: How to deal with Russia?

    But to realize these targets, a very effective diplomacy and policy should be implemented said Demir. Administrating the energy game in today's world is like driving a train, so one should care about the balance between all the train cars, he states.

    Obviously, Russia is one of the most important players in the energy field and deserves very special treatment. Russia, the main gas supplier to European markets as well as to Turkey, began pursuing a more aggressive energy policy in recent years. Therefore any initiative Turkey is trying to take is seen as a step toward a counter-attack by Moscow, Demir said.

    Turkey's plans to transfer Turkmenistan gas via its own territory or discussing with Kazakhstan in intensifying energy cooperation goes against Russia's plans. But in fact these projects could always be handled with mutual efforts, he said.

    The cold war between Turkey and Russia continues on the subject of bypassing the already very busy Turkish straits via a new pipeline to carry Russian oil. Turkey's pressure to convince Russia to flow its oil through homemade Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline resulted in Russia's building a Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline (between Bulgaria and Greece).

    Does Russia want to nix Turkey's plans over Ceyhan or just remains loyal to its companies' economic interests? What we see is that Russia's decision is political; that makes us think that Moscow wants to begin a new process of bargaining with Turkey, Demir assessed.

    One of the most important Russian targets is to realize the Blue Stream 2 project that would increase its supply to European markets via Nabucco pipeline that was originally designed to reduce Europe's dependency to Russian gas.

    In the not-so-distant future, we could witness the realization of the Blue Stream 2 project but Russia's cold behaviour toward Turkey's recent deal with Iran on natural gas based on the assumption that it's a counter-attack to its policies is not promising to Turkey, he underlined.

    Subtitle: US not really opposing agreement with Iran

    Turkey's energy deal with Iran was full of question marks for many, including the U.S. and other key energy players. However, for Demir, this relation between two neighbours is not surprising. Iran is in the top five countries in oil production and gas reserves. Let's just consider how the global oil balances would shift if a new pipeline between Iran's Tabriz and Turkey's Ceyhan were to be built?

    Demir states that it is just an idea for the time being but it is a fact that the two countries have already progressed in energy cooperation.

    Last year, two countries' energy ministers inked a preliminary agreement that foresees a broad cooperation in transferring Iranian and Turkmen gas to Europe via Turkey and in allowing Turkish companies to produce 20 billion cubic meters natural gas in the three phases of Iran's South Pars gas field. The agreement is yet to be finalized by the two countries' governments.

    The integration of Iran into European markets via Turkey could be a big success for all of us, Demir maintained.

    However, the opposition of the U.S., Turkey's close ally, to this agreement is no secret. According to the figures provided by Demir, Turkey's total investment in Iran will be around $5 billion, which violates a U.S. law.

    I don't think that Turkey's initiative will create a huge problem for the U.S. Some decision-makers in the U.S. prefer to use the definition of tomorrow's Iran', meaning that they expect to see an Iran that has adopted itself to international system. In the energy game, one cannot ignore Iran, he stated.

    Subtitle: Message to Iraqi Kurds

    According to Demir, in future planning Iraq will be one of the most important countries for Turkey. Almost everybody understood that it is Iraq's energy that will keep the country united. Those who oppose this strategy will lose. And for now this is the Iraqi Kurdish administration, he said.

    Underlining that Iraqi Kurdish groups have blocked the ratification of the Law of Oil that he says would work for the sake of all Iraqi people and not for one single region, Demir maintained that, Turkey would only help Kurdish groups if they fully recognize the central administration.

    EG/


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