Thursday, June 22, 2006

21st Century Silk Road

Turkish Daily News reports Prime Minister Erdoğan said,
... he remains the same man he was yesterday and had not, and couldn't have, changed, in contradiction to earlier statements about having changed and developed at the same time.
However, more importantly, he said:
[Erdoğan] also called on the energy world to accept the fact that oil transportation through the narrow Turkish straits was not sustainable. The tanker traffic in the waterway has reached a level that poses a serious threat to the safety of Istanbul. “It is no longer possible for us in Istanbul to live under this threat,” he said.
Prime Minister Erdoğan continued:
We have developed our energy strategy primarily based on this vision, taking into account global developments and expectations. We aim to make Turkey a transit country in the East-West and North-South axes. Our target is to transform the Ceyhan terminus into a center of commerce,” he said.

“As you know, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan [BTC] pipeline has become operational. Next are the Samsun-Ceyhan bypass pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (Şahdeniz) natural gas pipeline via the Caspian,” the prime minister said.

“On the one hand, Turkey is leading in the implementation of the East-West energy corridor, also named the ‘silk road of the 21st century,' and on the other, by means of the Nabucco and Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipelines, we are taking important steps on the road to becoming the fourth natural gas artery of the European Union by transporting Caspian and Middle East natural gas to Europe,” he added. (emphasis mine)

... Erdoğan said the Samsun-Ceyhan bypass pipeline would be added to the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık pipeline and the BTC pipeline and that the latter would be connected to Kazakhstan. “Ceyhan will become one of the most important energy centers in the world. Those tankers docking at Ceyhan will be able to simultaneously load Iraqi, Azeri, Kazakh and Russian oil,” he said.

Another dimension in Turkey's energy strategy is transporting Iraqi natural gas to Europe and the United States via Turkey, Erdoğan said. A project designed to transport the rich natural gas reserves of northern Iraq to the European Union and the United States through a newly built pipeline on to Ceyhan will be finalized in a few years, the prime minister stated.


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