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Turkey is becoming a superpower

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan watches a briefing on the discovery of a major natural gas reserve off Black Sea coast during a press conference at the Dolmabahce Palace Presidential Work Office in Istanbul, Turkey on 21 August 2020. [TCCB / Murat Çetinmühürdar - Anadolu Agency]
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan watches a briefing on the discovery of a major natural gas reserve off Black Sea coast during a press conference at the Dolmabahce Palace Presidential Work Office in Istanbul, Turkey on 21 August 2020. [TCCB / Murat Çetinmühürdar - Anadolu Agency]

After extensive exploration, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cheerfully announced on Friday that his country had made the biggest natural gas discovery in its history. The gas discovered in the Black Sea was estimated by 320 billion cubic metres. Erdogan said that production for commercial use could begin in 2023.

“Turkey has realised the greatest natural gas discovery in its history,” Erdogan was reported by Turkish and global mass media saying, stressing that this would help the country become a game-changer in relation to the energy market. “We are determined to solve our energy issue,” he stressed.

Erdogan told his nation that this gas find is a gift from God to improve the Turkish economy and raise living standards in the country. “My Lord has opened the door to unprecedented wealth for us,” he said.

In fact, energy experts believe these gas reserves could reduce the country’s bill imports, which reached $41 billion in 2019, because they usher in Turkey’s independence in this field and this would help stop the drain of foreign currency reserves. Turkey imports its gas mainly from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran.

Berat Albayrak, the economy minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law, said the Turkish government hopes it will eliminate the country’s current account deficit.

READ: ‘We will not let anybody harm Turkey’s interests’ 

Erdogan himself was enthusiastic about these discoveries and appeared hopeful that the Turkish experts will discover more and more gas. When he declared the news about the gas discovery, he stressed: “We will not stop until we become a net exporter of energy.”

Turkey will not be able to build plants in the deep seawater to get to the gas on its own because it lacks the expertise needed for this job, but so far, it has been able to search for gas without partners and using completely Turkish equipment. After these finds, the Turkish experts and equipment proved that they are trusted and able to do the job perfectly.

During the declaration, Erdogan said that his country had made the discovery without the need to spend millions on outside firms.

An aerial view of Turkish drilling vessel 'Fatih' passing under the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge as it is on the way, in Istanbul, Turkey on 29 May 2020. [Muhammed Enes Yıldırım - Anadolu Agency]

An aerial view of Turkish drilling vessel ‘Fatih’ passing under the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge as it is on the way, in Istanbul, Turkey on 29 May 2020. [Muhammed Enes Yıldırım – Anadolu Agency]

“This reserve is actually part of a much bigger source. God willing, much more will come. As a country that depended on the outside for gas for years, we look to the future with more security now,” he added.

Thomas Purdie, a consultant for Wood Mackenzie, said: “This is Turkey’s biggest-ever find by a wide margin, and one of the largest global discoveries of 2020.”

Following these premises, we can say that Turkey is heading towards becoming a superpower as it has been moving towards full independence. It has been spreading its culture across the world and this is very clear in the large number of international tourists who visit Turkey.

Turkey has made significant achievements in the fields of technology and space industry and reached the climax of an economic development as its goods are sought all over the globe and it has now reached the doorstep of energy independence.

The new discovery, however, will take time to reach the market, critics say, leaving the age of energy independence a long way away for Turkey. But they give Ankara leverage while negotiating the renewal of its gas contracts.

READ: Biden’s interventionism will be resisted in Turkey 

They may also help deescalate tensions between Turkey and Greece over Ankara’s hydrocarbon exploration efforts in waters claimed by Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean.

John Bowlus of the Centre for Energy and Sustainable Development at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University told TRT: “It’s incredibly significant for Turkey because the find was in the Black Sea, unlike the Eastern Mediterranean, which is riddled with all kinds of geopolitical problems.”

After these “historical” natural gas finds, Ankara has two messages; one for its allies that it is a strong country and they can depend on and the other message for its enemies that it is strong enough to stand alone in any crisis and  cannot be easily defied.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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ArticleEUEurope & RussiaGreeceInternational OrganisationsOpinionTurkey
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