EU and Turkish Energy Interests in the Caspian and Middle East Region
Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, Kamaran Palani, Giorgi Babunashvili, Jackson Balisdell
This paper aims to identify energy-sector drivers at the regional level in the Middle East and Caspian Basin (ME&CB), examine their impact on EU-Turkey relations and classify them based on whether they are likely to result in conflict, cooperation and/or convergence. We found that multiple energy drivers strategically incentivize the EU and Turkey to cooperate and converge on overall political and economic policies and priorities. As European consumers (and many others) seek greater energy security and the ME&CB is poised to supply the EU and Turkey with the lion’s share of their oil and gas needs, Turkey is ideally situated to bridge between Eastern supply and Western demand. This symbiotic relationship provides additional incentives for cooperation and/or convergence in the short, medium and long term. However, Turkey and the EU must first shift from conflict to cooperation and/or convergence on larger geopolitical issues regarding migration, counterterrorism, the war in Syria, Turkey’s enhanced relations with Russia and Iran, and Turkey’s domestic politics. Otherweise, the two sides will fail to realize the full range of mutual benefits.