Speaking before the Turkish parliament yesterday (6 April), US President Barack Obama said America would continue to support Turkey’s central role as an East-West oil and gas corridor, and highlighted new economic opportunities offered by clean energies. EurActiv Turkey reports.
Energy offers the United States and Turkey opportunities to “expand markets and create jobs,” Obama told the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara during his first visit to Turkey as US president.
“The United States and Turkey can pursue many opportunities to serve prosperity for our people, particularly when it comes to energy. We can increase trade and investment between our countries,” he said in a speech.
Obama told members of parliament that he would “continue to support [Turkey’s] central role as an East-West corridor for oil and natural gas,” extending a long-standing policy of the White House in supporting Turkey’s role as a transit country for oil and gas.
The EU’s projected Nabucco gas pipeline, which would see Turkey become a major transit route for Caspian gas to Europe, has long been supported by Washington, although Obama did not specifically mention the project.
The US president instead preferred to turn to the future, promoting renewable energies as a way to combat climate change. “We can increase new sources, not only to free ourselves from dependence of other energies [and] other countries’ energy sources, but also to combat climate change,” he said. “We should build on our Clean Technology Fund to leverage efficiency and renewable energy investments in Turkey.”
Wider economic cooperation between Turkey, the US and Europe is also crucial for security reasons, Obama stressed, reiterating America’s support for Turkey’s EU accession bid. “Let me be clear, the United States strongly supports Turkey’s bid to become a member of the European Union,” the president said amid applause.
“We speak not as members of the EU, but as close friends of both Turkey and Europe,” Obama added, reminding the audience that “Turkey has its own responsibilities” to make progress towards full membership.