Turkic leaders pledge energy, tourism cooperation

Turkish President Abdullah Gul also said tourism is important to those countries along the Silk Road in terms of economy and the humanitarian dimension.

Turkic leaders pledge energy, tourism cooperation

World Bulletin / News Desk

The long-term goal of strengthening energy cooperation between Turkey and Turkmenistan is an important message to the world, experts say in relation to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguli Berdimuhamedov’s statements Tuesday.

"Trying to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas, Europe wants Turkmen gas supplies more than ever," said Guner Ozkan, Caucasus and Caspian regions expert at the Ankara-based think-tank International Strategic Research Organization told the Anadolu Agency in an interview.

Ozkan underlined that a pipeline through the Caspian Sea or Iran, to reach Europe through Turkey are the two most "rational" routes for Turkmenistan which has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world.

He emphasized that the recent easing of sanctions against Iran by Western powers also provide a more comfortable energy trading environment between Turkey, Iran and the Central Asian countries.

However, Ozkan pointed out that Russia is the strongest player in the Caspian region and it would be wrong to believe that Russia would not "intervene" in a project that will go through the Caspian and reach Europe to supply an alternative to Russian gas.

"The recent $400 billion agreement between Russia and China, will soften up Turkmenistan’s gas price negotiations with China," Ozkan said, adding, "Turkmenistan needs alternative markets as well and reaching Europe through Turkey is imperative from this perspective."

Turkmenistan is currently China’s largest natural gas supplier. The country produces around 80 billion cubic metres of gas every year, currently the majority of which goes to China (52 percent), Russia (24 percent), Iran (22 percent) and other former Soviet Union countries (2 percent).

Ozkan underlined that the biggest obstacle in the cooperation between Turkey and Turkmenistan is the question of going through the Caspian Sea, as well as the political issues between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the sharing of Caspian territories.

Gul stresses Silk Road tourism

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said tourism is important to those countries along the Silk Road in terms of economy and the humanitarian dimension, in his address to the fourth Turkic Council Summit, held in Turkey’s southwestern province of Mugla.

"Tourism contributes to people’s getting to know each other more closely and helps them find out their commonalities, reaching beyond the commercial dimension. It paves the way for the consolidation of humanitarian bridges and the bond of love which the people of the Turkic countries feel for each other, building fruitful partnerships as well,” he said in the opening ceremony of the summit.

Gul stressed the importance to greet visiting presidents personally, adding that he attaches great importance to reinforcing the bonds with Turkic countries "with whom we share common language, culture, faith, values and history."

Recalling the history of the council, Gul said the Turkic Council intended to consolidate mutual economic dependence and socio-cultural interaction among Turkic countries, beginning with the Nakhichevan Summit in 2009.

“We founded the council with the idea, ‘united we stand, united we are stronger.’ We aim to strengthen our corporations with Turkic countries and form new alliances with the help of regional countries,” Gul said.

Gul said the common will to consolidate the Turkish Council would be confirmed through the annual summit, and concluded his remarks by thanking Kazakhstan, which will host the summit next year.

Infrastructure work underway

Infrastructure work has already begun to revive the ancient ‘Silk Road’ route, Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik said on Thursday.

Celik said that attendees discussed not only the economic output of tourism but also its connective power on culture and integration in a large region such as the Turkic world.

Meanwhile, founder Secretary General of Turkic Council Halil Akinci said that Ramil Hasanov was appointed as the new Secretary General of the council. Hasanov, from Azerbaijan, was the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Haziran 2014, 16:20