Cablegate: Energy Secretary Bodman Meets with Turkish Prime Minister
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SUBJECT: Energy Secretary Bodman Meets with Turkish Prime Minister
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On November 18, Energy Secretary Bodman met with
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on the margins of the Turkish Greek
Interconnector (TGI) Ceremony. Also present was Turkish Energy
Minister Guler, as well as representation from the Turkish MFA. The
Secretary and the Prime Minister discussed the TGI ceremony, Caspian
energy issues, gas transit, pipelines, nuclear energy, the Global
Nuclear Energy Partnership, the war on terror, Erdogan's November
5th visit to Washington, and PKK terrorism. End Summary.
2. (U) Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman participated in the Turkish
Greek Interconnector natural gas pipeline opening ceremony on
November 18. The celebration, which took place on the border both
in Turkey and Greece, commemorated the completion of the first link
of a southern energy route from the Caspian to Western Europe that
bypasses Russia. The TGI will initially transport 250 million cubic
meters of gas each year from Azerbaijan to Greece. This volume
shoul triple by 2012 when the pipeline is expected to rach Italy.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erogan and Greek Prime Minister
Kostas Karamanlis hook hands on the border to highlight the
creatin of a "peace bridge" between their countries. Azrbaijan
President Ilham Aliyev, who also spoke a the ceremony, said that he
is ready to expand enrgy projects with the European Union.
Secretary odman welcomed the TGI as a "critical new energy bidge"
connecting east and west. While on the Tukish side of the ceremony
site, Secretary Bodmanmet separately with President Aliyev and
Prime Miister Erdogan.
Bodman- Erdogan Meeting
3.(SBU) PM Erdogan thanked Secretary Bodman for comig to Turkey
and participating in the Turkish Grek Interconnector (TGI)
ceremony. Erdogan noted that Secretary Bodman's participation was
extremel timely considering the importance that we all attch to
global energy supply. The Secretary congraulated the PM on the TGI
ceremony and noted thatit was good for Turkey, the region, and the
world. The Secretary also expressed his appreciation fo the work
of Energy Minister Guler, who was enhancing energy production and
security in Turkey and the region.
4. (SBU) PM Erdogan explained that Turkey is prepared to transfer
Caspian and Middle Eastern energy resources to Europe and beyond.
TGI and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipelines now mean that Europe
can directly access Caspian oil and gas, bypassing Russia.
According to the PM, Turkey would become the world's fourth largest
energy distribution center after Norway, Russia, and Algeria. To
realize this, he added, Turkey needs help from the U.S. similar to
that the USG provided to make the BTC a reality. Turkey plans to
give priority to talks with Azerbaijan on the transit of gas from
Azerbaijan to Europe. The Secretary said that he had met Azerbaijan
President Aliyev earlier that day and that there is a question
concerning whether Turkey wants to simply transfer gas or get paid
in other ways, in addition to transit fees. The Secretary noted
that we support Turkey as a regional energy transit country. (Note:
While we have no opinion on the issue raised by the Azerbaijani
President, we hope that Turkey and Azerbaijan can come to an
agreement that is fair and commercially viable, because that is
important for successful transit of the gas. End note.)
5. (SBU) Erdogan expressed hope that USAID would support Azerbaijan
by completing a feasibility study (not further identified) that
would be important to supply security. He also stated that it would
be useful to have joint/regional cooperation in support of
Turkmenistan and asked the Secretary's views. Bodman said that there
are limits to the quantity of gas that Azerbaijan can provide. In
addition, the U.S. is working with the Iraqis in an effort to help
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them produce and export more gas. (Note: The Secretary was
diplomatically stating that over the long haul, Turkmen and Kazak
gas will be available for transport, so the Turks should not act in
any way that would discourage such developments, and that it is not
that Azerbaijan is resource poor but rather capacity constrained; in
that its resources are challenging to develop. End note.)
6. (SBU) PM Erdogan raised Turkey's support for a Bosporus bypass
pipeline from Samsun to Ceyhan. Concerns raised by
environmentalists, NGOs, and others have been addressed. Erdogan
asked for USG support. The Secretary said that he hoped the Turks
would talk to the companies. It is up to them to determine the
feasibility and profitability of such pipelines.
7. (SBU) The PM referred to the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, or
123, agreement, stating that the Turks attach great importance to
it. The Secretary replied that he and Secretary Rice had forwarded
the signed agreement last week to President Bush, whom they expected
would forward it to Congress shortly.
8. (SBU) Minister Guler indicated that Turkey currently gets 52
percent of its electricity from its own natural gas power plants.
It plans to increase the number of hydroelectric and thermal power
plants. Turkey will still, however, face future energy shortfalls.
From a nuclear perspective, the PM said that Turkey plans to proceed
with plans to build nuclear power plants because they are needed to
meet gaps in Turkey's energy needs. In this regard, the Turks have
spoken with the Canadians, the French, the British, and the Germans.
(Note: the PM did not mention that in February 2006, Energy
Minister Guler visited a nuclear power plant in the U.S.) The
Secretary responded that we are prepared to work with the Turks on
nuclear energy issues, that the Turks had participated as observers
in the most recent GNEP Ministerial, and that we hoped they would
join GNEP as a full fledged member. If the Turks elect not to join
GNEP at this time, the Secretary said that he hoped they would
participate in the next GNEP Ministerial in December as observers.
9. (SBU) PM Erdogan told Bodman that Turkey is going through a very
important period in terms of peace and security both globally and
regionally. He spoke positively of his November 5 meeting with
President Bush. The task now is to implement what they discussed.
10. (SBU) The Secretary told the PM that we take our relationship
with Turkey very seriously and that we view Turkey not just as an
ally but also as a valuable friend. He noted that we appreciate
Turkey's support for the war on terror and that we stand with Turkey
in its battles with the PKK, because PKK is not just Turkey's enemy
but also ours.
11. (U) This message was cleared by Secretary Bodman's party.