A Global Look at Energy Issues in Turkey

Turkey. A blend of the familiar and the ancient, the east meets the west. Life in this melting pot of tradition and culture is seen as exotic and yet serene. Turkey is slowly but surely becoming a dominating force in the political, economic, and social light. The rapidly increasing economy has shocked people domestic and abroad, as this country enters the world stage. Energy usage in Turkey is on the rise. With its new dynamic energy economy, Turkey has had a shift in its energy policy, focusing primarily on changing from oil, coal, and natural gas to hydro, wind, geothermal, and solar power, while addressing its need to decrease its imports and rely more on its geographical advantage in location to the resource reserves and new desire of nuclear power.

Turkey has a multi-dimensional energy breakdown of resources. Natural gas is the resource the country relies on the most, making up 30.4% of their resources. Relying on some renewable resources, hydro power makes up about 25.5% of the overall production. Coal is their next biggest resource, using about 22.9%. Other smaller resources contribute to the means used, being wind, geothermal, hybrid, and renewable waste. Though their dependence on non-renewable resources is slim right now, they look to increase their use of sustainable resources and add nuclear energy. “Turkey ranks seventh in the world and first in Europe in terms of geothermal energy (Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, n.d.)” Turkey also looks towards hydro, wind, and solar energy specifically, as those renewable resources would greatly benefit the energy market. “Turkey envisages producing 30% of its electricity need from the renewables by 2023 (Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, n.d.)” If this goal becomes a reality, Turkey will be relying on sustainable energy as it currently relies on natural gas now, which would be extremely beneficial to the energy market and total energy production as a whole. This would begin to pave the way towards energy security, a step in the right direction for this young and increasing energy market.

As Turkey heavily relies on imported resources, it realizes that in order to reach energy security, they must come up with more domestic energy solutions. “Turkey aims to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels through gradual commissioning of nuclear power into the Turkish energy mix (Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, n.d.)” Already having signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Russian Federation, this project to further stabilize the energy market is underway. The construction and operation of this nuclear power plant will be in Akkuyu. There are already talks and plans in the works for not only a second, but a third nuclear power plant as well. Knowing the risks and controversies involved in going nuclear, as well as having the reminder of Ukraine nearby, Turkey has already taken necessary precautions. “Turkey has voluntarily accepted to join the EU stress tests program. The important attached to such tests demonstrates Turkey’s commitment to the adoption and implementation of the most rigorous safety standards in the construction and operation of these plants (Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, n.d)” Knowing how crucial it is to become domestically stable and reliable on its own resources and reserves, Turkey has gone to great lengths to get its people onboard with its policies, and by doing so keep the energy market afloat.

When people think of Turkey, they may think of it as a bustling second world country, known for its tourist definitions. However, Turkey is a country on the rise and slowly becoming an economic global power in its own right. Due to the rapid increase of their population and economy, they have felt the need to shift their energy policy to give them more energy security. Though they rely now heavily on imported, natural gas, coal, and oil, they are looking to increase and stabilize their energy market by being more efficient with their domestic reserves, broadening their renewable resources, and expanding into nuclear power. Though they have big dreams, Turkey is slowly but surely gaining their energy security, a must to stabilize and control their new energy market.

-Alexandria Hubbard

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