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Encourage Turkey’s Energy Development

The Obama administration should assist Turkey in regaining its momentum as a crossroads of energy in a manner that furthers U.S. interests in the region.

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Turkey sits at a critical energy crossroads. To the northeast lies Russia and the energy-rich former Soviet republics in the Caucasus and Central Asia, while to the west lie the energy-hungry economies of Europe and the Mediterranean. Turkish leaders recognize this, and have sought to make their country a crucial component of the emerging energy infrastructure of the region. Indeed, Turkey today is fast becoming a transit and terminal hub for oil and gas. By helping Europe with its energy needs, it hopes to increase its attractiveness as an EU member. Recent tensions between Russia and the NATO alliance over the conflict in Georgia, and a desire by the United States to isolate Iran, however, complicate Turkey’s fulcrum position between East and West.

The Obama administration should assist Turkey in regaining its momentum as a crossroads of energy in a manner that furthers U.S. interests in the region. Turkey’s location makes it a prime candidate for moving energy from the Caucasus and Central Asia while bypassing Iran and Russia, both of whom may manipulate their control of supply routes. Since Turkey is much more reliable and friendly to both Europe and the United States, the United States should encourage Turkey to continue developing itself as an energy conduit.

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