EDITORIAL: EU-TURKEY, HOW TO ENERGIZE THE RELATIONSHIP?
For more than a decade Turkey and the EU have not only regarded energy as an area of mutual strategic interest, but also considered it as a key platform to foster cooperation processes and strengthen their bilateral relationship. In this context, the strategic interdependence of the EU and Turkish energy systems has been reaffirmed at the institutional level on several occasions, including the 2015 EU Energy Union strategy and the last “Turkey–EU High Level Energy Dialogue” meeting of January 2016.
The key area within which cooperation has focused is energy security, and specifically the diversification of energy supplies as well as transit routes towards the EU. Indeed, Turkey’s geographical position makes the country a fundamental enabler of European efforts to accede to Caspian and Middle Eastern hydrocarbon resources. Against this backdrop, since 2003 the EU has put Ankara at the centre of its most ambitious-ever external energy policy initiative, the Southern Gas Corridor, while Turkish authorities – repeatedly highlighting the link between energy cooperation and progress into the EU accession process - have presented the “contribution to Europe’s energy security” as one of the key priorities of the country’s national energy strategy.
However, in the last few years, changing priorities and evolving global trends are contributing to modify the mutual perceptions (and the respective actions) of Brussels and Ankara in this domain. The whole accession negotiation process has experienced – to say the very least - significant delays due to stagnation in political bilateral relations, naturally encouraging a less cooperative stance by Turkey on energy issues. In this situation, the European attempts to decouple deeper energy cooperation from the accession process, establishing alternative institutional mechanisms to expand their energy partnership outside the accession negotiations, proved unsuccessful.
On the one hand, Turkey rejected the European proposal to join the Energy Community and to unilaterally commit itself to implementing the relevant EU acquis on energy, environment and competition,
opting for – if ever – a selective process of alignment with EU energy legislation. On the other hand, Ankara clearly focused on its national interests regardless of Europe’s desiderata, playing for instance an active role in the materialization of what can be considered the killer of the EU-sponsored Nabucco pipeline, the TANAP project, and expanding energy cooperation with Russia (through TurkStream) at a moment of deep political tensions between Moscow and Brussels.
The emergence of new energy trends (the unprecedented growth of renewables, the ambitious decarbonization targets set by the Paris Agreement or the volatility of hydrocarbon prices), however, might contribute to alter the status quo. Indeed, the radical process of transformation of the global energy markets - known as the energy transition – is shaping the energy strategies of both the EU and (to a lesser extent) Turkey, potentially providing a robust framework for setting future bilateral energy and climate relations.
The size and economic convenience of such a transition and the global dimension of the process might convince Turkey to strengthen its action – and thus to move closer to the European position. Yet, the heterogeneity of the variables involved and the still significant amount of uncertainty related to key elements of the transition may somehow hinder the attempts to re-energize the relationship.
Nicolò Sartori, Head of the Energy, Climate and Resources Programme, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Leader of WP5 "Energy and Climate Drivers"
Newsletter No. 6 – October 2017
PRESENTATION OF WORK PACKAGE 5: ENERGY & CLIMATE DRIVERS
by Nicolò Sartori, Leader of WP5
Work Package 5 seeks to identify key energy and climate drivers that are likely to lead to one of the three envisaged ideal-type scenarios identified by FEUTURE: conflict, cooperation or convergence in EU-Turkey relations. Within WP5, the EU-Turkey energy and climate relations are analyzed at three different levels: internal/bilateral, in order to assess how the respective energy and climate strategies, interests and priorities are expected to affect the overall relationship between the EU and Turkey; regional, with a focus on the evolution of the energy triangle Brussels-Ankara-Moscow, on the development of energy resources in the East Med region, and on the key energy dynamics in the broader Caspian and Middle Eastern quadrant; and global.
FEUTURE Mid-Term Conference: "EU-Turkey relations: game (not) over?", Barcelona, 19-20 October 2017
EU-Turkey relations have always been challenged and particularly contested in recent months. Analysing the drivers of this relationship in order to ponder likely scenario(s) for the future, therefore, seems more relevant than ever. FEUTURE – as the single largest consortium dealing with EU-Turkey relations funded by the European Commission – aims to answering this research question. With this event, 1.5 years into the project’s work, the consortium of 15 renowned universities and think tanks from the EU, Turkey and the neighbourhood took stock of and discussed both the project's preliminary research results as well as the EU-Turkey relationship. Read more
FEUTURE/TRIANGLE PhD Workshop: “The European Union, Turkey and its wider neighbourhood: challenges and opportunities”, Barcelona, 17-18 October 2017
11 PhD candidates from several countries had been selected to meet in Barcelona and discuss their PhD theses with international experts such as Meltem Müftüler-Bac (Sabanci University), Robert Kissack (IBEI), Funda Tekin, (CETEUS), Eduard Soler i Lecha (IBEI, CIDOB) and Atila Eralp (METU). The workshop was hosted on 17 and 18 October by Institut Barcelona d'Estudies Internacionales. Read more
FEUTURE Steering Group and General Assembly meetings, Barcelona, 19 October 2017
The FEUTURE Steering Group and the General Assembly met on the premises of the Barcelona Centre for International Relations (CIDOB) on 19 October 2017. The aim of the meetings was to further frame the research structure, common definition and future research activities, as well as to discuss relevant management issues in order to guarantee a smooth implementation of the project.
DIIS event: "Erdoğan and the crisis of modern Turkey", Copenhagen, 20 October 2017
This seminar, hosted by the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), focused on Turkey’s modern political landscape as shaped by President Erdoğan’s ruling AK Party, and investigated Ankara’s challenged relationship with Washington in light of the recent diplomatic spats between the two capitals. Speakers included Soner Cağaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute and author of the recent book “The New Sultan and the crisis of modern Turkey", Pola Rojan, Middle East Analyst at ActionAid, and Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke, Senior Researcher at DIIS. Read more
MERI debate on the referendum for independence, Erbil, 2 October 2017
Kurdistan’s referendum on independence is one of the most relevant issues that have the potential to affect the future of the region and EU-Turkey relations. MERI hosted a roundtable discussion for diplomats, analysts, representatives of various political parties and Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) officials on 2 October 2017. The discussion focused on the need for dialogue and de-escalation, how to curb potential conflicts, the role of the international community in facilitating dialogue, and how to move forward from this point.
Istanbul Bilgi University international conference on "EU-Turkey relations", Istanbul, 22 September 2017
This international conference was organized by the European Institute - Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence of Istanbul Bilgi University in collaboration with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, TÜSES, KÜYEREL, Science Academy and SODEV. The conference analyzed several dimensions of EU-Turkey relations, such as economics, politics, and security. Read more
IAI book presentation: "The New Sultan. Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey", Rome, 20 September 2017
In this book, leading Turkish expert Soner Cagaptay looks at where Erdogan comes from in Turkish history, what he believes in and how he has cemented his rule. The New Sultan tells the story of the increasingly Islamic Turkey Erdogan has built, and assesses the threats he faces – from the liberal youth to the Gulen movement, the army plotters and the fallout from the Kurdish question. Read more
MERI workshop: "Displacement in the KRI: migration from Iraq", Erbil, 23 July 2017
The displacement and the migration of refugees and internally displaced people is one of the key concerns of Turkey, the EU, Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. To ease the process of the return of the IDPs, one of the findings of the workshop is that social justice should be the overarching principle guiding the process of the return of millions of Iraqi IDPs. Yet, there are many more aspects that need to be addressed. Some of them have been highlighted by key stakeholders (local and national actors, international organisations, and NGOs) in a workshop on displacement and migration held at MERI on 23 July 2017.
MERI round table: "Turkish foreign policy after the referendum", Erbil, 10 May 2017
On 10 May 2017, the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) hosted a round table with diplomats, policy makers, academics and other experts to discuss Turkish foreign policy after the 16 April 2017 referendum. The event was aimed at better understanding the implications of the vote within Turkey, as well as regional and international consequences regarding issues such as security, the economy and trade. Read more
Newsletter No. 6 – October 2017
Second WP2-WP4 Joint Workshop, February 2018
In February 2018, WP 4 "Security Drivers" together with WP 2 "Political Drivers" will organize a second joint workshop. The details of the event are yet to be defined and will be communicated in the upcoming months.
Second WP3-WP5 Joint Workshop, February 2018
In February 2018, researchers from WP 3 "Economic Drivers" and WP 5 "Energy & Climate Drivers" will meet in order to analyze and evaluate these drivers and to discuss draft versions of the respective synthesis papers.
Second WP6-WP7 Joint Workshop, February 2018
In February 2018, WP 6 "Migration Drivers" and WP 7 "Identity & Culture Drivers" will organize their second joint workshop. Further details will be announced in the upcoming issues of the FEUTURE Newsletter.
MERI Forum: "Visions for stability in the Middle East", Erbil, 7-9 November 2017
MERI Forum 2017, the premiere high-level policy gathering in Iraq, is fast approaching. The event aims to promote debates on critical issues facing Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, and the wider Middle East. This year’s Forum will bring together senior ranking national and international policymakers, academics, and opinion-leaders to engage in spirited and wide-ranging discussions. There will be a focus on Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East and EU’s policy in post-ISIS reconstruction.
IAI conference: "Modernizing the customs union: a key to reinvigorate a rules-based EU-Turkey relationship?", Paris, 15 December 2017
The entry into force of the customs union in 1996 has not only boosted Turkey’s economic power, but also paved the way for its democratization and Europeanization. On the economic front, the debate surrounds both the risk of an economic crisis in Turkey, and the prospect of opening negotiations on a modernized customs union. Whether or not an upgraded customs union could serve as a pillar in a novel rules-based institutional frame between the two parties will be the subject of a debate organized by Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in the framework of the "Global Turkey in Europe" project.
FEUTURE researchers' speeches, presentations and other activities:
S. Duygu Sever, Presentation entitled “Turkey’s Nuclear Energy Policy in the Context of Climate Change: A case of Europeanization?” at the 47th UACES Annual Conference, 4-6 September 2017, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland