Türkiye believes its presence is indispensable to the success of energy and transport corridors in the region, revealing plans to expand its gas infrastructure to facilitate the transit of Russian gas to Europe.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan asserted that effective, sustainable operation of energy transportation corridors without Türkiye's involvement is not possible.
Speaking at the 10th World Turkish Business Council (DTIK) Congress in Istanbul, Fidan said: "We hope to move into the implementation phase of the Development Road project, which is of great importance for prosperity and stability in the Middle East within the next few months."
He highlighted ongoing intense negotiations with Iraq, the UAE, and Qatar about the project.
Fidan emphasized the significance of new trade routes, especially in light of recent geopolitical developments, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russo-Ukrainian war, and the rivalry between the United States and China, or more broadly, the West and China.
He noted that these developments have revived discussions of other trade routes previously considered theoretically, emphasizing that trade routes don't merely cater to commerce but also reflect geostrategic competition.
- A gas hub
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar stated that Türkiye plans to expand its gas infrastructure as it lays the groundwork to establish a gas exchange from which countries in southeast Europe can source gas.
Following its incursion into Ukraine in February of the previous year, Russia proposed setting up a gas hub in Türkiye last year to replace lost sales to Europe.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have given directives to commence the project.
They discussed specific steps during their recent meeting in Sochi after the project's delay due to the earthquake catastrophe in Türkiye last February and the presidential and parliamentary elections in May.
Türkiye plans to expand its gas infrastructure in northwest Türkiye's Thrace region, connecting LNG gasification terminals and an upgraded storage facility in Silivri, west of Istanbul.
Bayraktar told a press briefing on Thursday that gas coming from Azerbaijan, Iran, and Russia through pipelines could also feed into this hub and be priced in a local gas exchange.
- Iraqi Oil Exports Resumption
Furthermore, Bayraktar confirmed that Iraq's northern oil export route through Türkiye will soon be ready to resume operation after checks on pipeline maintenance and repairs to flood damage.
Bayraktar mentioned that an inspection of the oil pipeline is complete, and it will soon be "technically" ready for operations.
Türkiye halted flows on Iraq's northern oil export route on March 25 after an arbitration ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ordered Ankara to pay Baghdad damages for unauthorized exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) between 2014 and 2018.
"As of today, the independent surveyor completed their survey, and now they're preparing their report," Bayraktar said without mentioning a date for resumption of oil flows.
Iraq and Türkiye previously agreed to wait until maintenance works were complete before resuming the pipeline that contributes about 0.5 percent of the global oil supply. Sources said oil flows are not expected to start before October.
The Kurdistan Regional Government lost roughly $4 billion in lost exports.
- Nuclear power plant
The Minister revealed that the ongoing negotiations with Russia, China, and South Korea regarding constructing a second nuclear power station in Thrace, northwestern Türkiye, are progressing.
"We came to a very important point that we need to finalize [the deal] in a few months," said Bayraktar.
He also pointed to ongoing talks with Russia concerning the third nuclear power station in the Sinop.
Bayraktar said Türkiye needs to produce 20 gigawatts from the nuclear power plants in the future.
Russia is currently constructing the Akkuyu station, Türkiye's first nuclear power plant, situated in Mersin.
Bayraktar revealed that Türkiye aims to establish a broader nuclear ecosystem that requires atomic power to transition to clean energy by 2050.