Turkey’s Energy Policy and the Future of Natural Gas

James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy

Buoyed by a decade of economic growth, Turkey is more prosperous than ever before. At the forefront of this transformation, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reaped the rewards of economic success and political prestige. But as the party strives to institutionalize its gains, it faces growing challenges at home and abroad. Domestic polarization erupted into massive unrest during the Gezi protests of June 2013, potentially threatening Turkey’s hard-won reputation for political stability. Alongside this domestic trend, Turkey’s region is perpetually dangerous with spillover from Syria’s civil war and worsening fractionalization in Iraq at the forefront of Ankara’s regional concerns.

These trends have important implications for Turkey’s natural gas trajectory. The AKP has demonstrated its preference for natural gas and led in the expansion of Turkey’s capacity to import and transmit supplies across the country. The party has also presided over an ambitious project to expand the role of the private sector in this arena. But for the AKP, national power and political prerogatives are what truly matter. As Turkey’s domestic appetite for gas has grown, so has its aspiration to turn its geographic location into an advantage in the Eurasian natural gas game...

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