Energy Policies of Turkey During the Erdogan Era: Facts and Lies

Tugce Varol
21st Century Turkey Institute, San Diego, CA, USA

Series: Energy Policies, Politics and Prices
BISAC: BUS070040



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Erdogan discovered in 2002 that energy policies and the energy sector would create a mechanism to institute his dynasty in Turkey. The energy policies of the Erdogan era include how the Erdogan family engaged in the international energy business in Turkey and neighboring countries, and how they became wealthy.

After many years of supporting the Calik Holding, the former CEO, Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, was appointed Turkey’s Minister of Energy by Erdogan in 2015. Since Erdogan came to power in 2002, many books and articles were published on Turkey’s foreign policy and domestic politics by scholars. However, this is the first book that combines Erdogan’s energy policy actions (country by country in chronological order) as well as describing the underlying corruption allegations, the Zarrab case, and the smuggling of ISIS oil. As a result of the research through official Turkey institutions and international institutions, it is shown that an overseas Turkish energy company was and continues to be involved in the energy blocks of Iraqi Kurdistan, thanks to Erdogan’s agreement with the Barzani administration.

This book aims to analyze Turkey’s energy relations with Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq-Iraqi Kurdistan, Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asian countries since 2002. One of the notable outcomes of the book is to reveal how Erdogan contributed to Israel’s energy security despite his anti-Israeli rhetoric. The reader will learn the details of the energy projects between Turkey and other countries. In addition, the reader will also learn the roles of Turkey’s energy companies close to the Erdogan family. The book emphasizes the deterioration of Turkey-Russia relations and its impact on Turkey’s energy security, thanks to the Erdogan-Putin rivalry over Syria. Erdogan has been in power since 2002 (President since 2014), and is trying to convert Turkey’s political regime to remain in power for as long as possible. Appointing his son-in-law as Turkey’s Minister of Energy is not a coincidence, but rather a business strategy.



Chapter 1. Russia

Chapter 2. Azerbaijan

Chapter 3. Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government

Chapter 4. Iran

Chapter 5. Eastern Mediterranean

Chapter 6. Central Asia

Chapter 7. Conclusions: Turkey's Energy Outlook and Its Future

About the Author


This book was reviewed by the online platform Politurco.

- Politurco

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Patronlar Dunyasi. 2014. “İsrail’in Petrolü Yandaş Medyadan.” July 21. Accessed March 6, 2016. 47. [Oil of Israel is From Slanted Media. World of Bosses].
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Resmi Gazete. 2010. “Memorandum of Understanding Between The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Turkey and The Ministry of Industry and Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan For Sales and Transport of Natural Gas.” October 6. Accessed March 5, 2016. [The Official Gazette].
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RFERL. 2009. “Azerbaijan Criticizes Turkey Over Gas Prices, to Seek New Routes.” October 16. Accessed March 11, 2016. Turkey_Over_Gas_Prices_To_Seek_New_Routes/1853890.html.
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Sozcu. 2015. “CHP’li Vekilden ‘Enişte’ İddiası.” October 21. Accessed January 4, 2016. [Brother-in-law Allegation from CHP’s Deputy].
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Vestnik Kavkaza. 2013. “Why Did Sechin Visit Baku?” July 9. Accessed March 12, 2016.

Chapter 3:
AA. 2012. “Massud Barzani Attends AK Party Congress.” September 30. Accessed March 23, 2016.
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Ergin, Evrim. 2012. “Iraqi Kurds to Sell Gas Directly to Turkey-Minister.” Reuters. July 3. Accessed March 21, 2016.
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HaberTurk. 2012. “Kuzey Suriye Değil, Suriye’nin Kuzeyi.” August 12. Accessed March 9, 2016. [It is not Northern Syria, North of Syria].
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Hurriyet. 2012. “Amacımız Kürt Gazını ve Petrolünü Türkiye’ye Getirmek.” August 9. Accessed March 18, 2016. [Our Goal is to Bring Kurdish Gas and Oil to Turkey].
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Intellinews, BNE. 2012. “Calik Company Ikideniz Plans Oil Pipeline Between Turkey-Iraq.” February 20. Accessed April 4, 2016.
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Chapter 4:
AA. 2013. “Mavi Hat Davasında Karar.” November 22. Accessed April 15, 2016. [Verdict For The Case of Blue Line. Anadolu Agency].
Aksam. 2013. “Azeri Eniştenin Altını Havalimanını Karıştırdı.” January 6. Accessed April 17, 2016. [Azeri Brother-in-law’s Gold Stirred up Trouble in the Airport].
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Chapter 5:
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Peker, Emre, and Stelios Orphnides. 2011. “Erdogan’s Gunboats Challenge Cyprus Gas Search in Mediterranean.” Bloomberg. October 9. Accessed April 27, 2016.
Peker, Emre, Sarah Kent, and Joe Parkinson. 2014. “Kurdish Oil Gambit Hits Troubled Waters.” Wall Street Journal. July 21. Accessed May 4, 2016. articles/in-challenge-to-iraq-kurds-pin-future-on-stealth-oil-sales-1405996352.
Pileggi, Tamar. 2015. “Israel Approves Natural Gas Exports to Jordan.” Times of Israel. April 3. Accessed May 8, 2016.
Pinar, Ovgu. 2015. “Bilal Erdoğan İtalyan Basınına Konuştu: Türkiye’de Dikkatim Dağılıyor.” BBC. December 8. Accessed May 5, 2016. haberler/2015/12/151208_bilal_erdogan_corriere. [Bilal Erdogan Spoke to Italian Media: I am Distracted in Turkey].
Platts. 2013. “Azerbaijan’s SOCAR Signs Deal to Buy 66% of Greece’s Gas Grid Operator DESFA.” December 23. Accessed May 1, 2016.
—. 2013. “BG Group in Secret Talks to Develop Gaza-Marine Gas Field: Report.” March 14. Accessed May 4, 2016.
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Pokrovskaya, Ekaterina. 2015. “Dispute Between Baghdad and Kurdistan Holds Back Iraqi Oil Potential.” Oil Price. July 16. Accessed May 9, 2016. Crude-Oil/Dispute-Between-Baghdad-and-Kurdistan-Holds-Back-Iraqi-Oil-Potential9153.html.
Pope, Hugh. 2013. “Israel’s Plan to Bring Cyprus and Turkey Together.” Ekathimerini. September 18. Accessed May 3, 2016. wsite3_1_18/09/2013_519229.
Radikal. 2007. “Erdoğan’ın Damadı İsrail’le Kulisten Sonra mı Çalık’a Müdür Oldu.” July 10. Accessed May 2, 2016. [Erdogan’s Son-in-law Appointed as CEO of Calik after Lobbying with Israel?].
Rapoza, Kenneth. 2013. “Russian Oligarchs Lose Friend in Cyprus Banks.” Forbes. March 17. Accessed April 28, 2016.
Ratcliffe, Verity. 2016. “Aphrodite in Doubt as New Acreage Turns Heads.” Interfax Energy. July 22. Accessed July 22, 2016. aphrodite-uncertain-as-new-acreage-turns-heads.
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Reed, John, and Guy Chazan. 2013. “Gaza Strip Gas Project Poised For Approval.” Financial Times. October 9. Accessed May 4, 2016.
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Republic of Turkey Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. 2009. “Strategic Plan 2010-2014.” Accessed May 7, 2016. files/mDCwi+EnerjiveTabiiKaynaklarBakanligiSP1014.pdf.
Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2016. “No.74, 25 March 2016, Press Release Regarding the Third International Tender or Off-shore Hydrocarbon Exploration by the Greek Cypriot Administration.” March 25. Accessed March 25, 2016.
Reuters. 2013. “Cyprus Signs MOU for LNG Terminal Talks With Noble, Avner, Delek.” June 26. Accessed May 2, 2016.
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Sputnik. 2015. “Russia to Provide Evidence of Turkish Involvement in Daesh Oil Trade.” December 12. Accessed May 5, 2016. 1031113310/russia-defense-syria-daesh-turky.html.
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Tastekin, Fehmi. 2015. “Aleppo’s Businessmen Blame Turks For Damaged Factories, Looted Equipment.” Al-Monitor. August 19. Accessed May 6, 2016.
The Algemeiner. 2016. “Russia Reportedly Shows Renewed Interest in Israeli Natural Gas.” April 25. Accessed May 6, 2016.
The Jerusalem Post. 2016. “Netanyahu, Putin Tweaks Military Coordination as Syria Conditions Change.” April 21. Accessed May 6, 2016.
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Chpter 6:
Alimukhamedov, Farkhad, and Akcay Engin. 2013. “Redefining the Contemporary Relations Between Turkey and Uzbekistan.” Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi – Dumlupinar University Journal of Social Sciences. (36): 235-242.
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BOTAS. “Natural Gas Purchase and Export Agreements.” Accessed May 25, 2016.
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Cagaptay, Soner. 2014. “Will President Erdogan Run Turkey?” The Washington Institute. August 11. Accessed May 26, 2016.
Calik Enerji. Accessed May 26, 2016.*.
Caspian Energy News. 2015. “Joint Declaration Between Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan Adopted in Antalya.” August 31. Accessed May 25, 2016. http://www.
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Jumayev, Attokur. 2013. “С какой целью приехал Эрдоган?” Inosmi. April 11. Accessed May 4, 2016. [For What Purpose Erdogan Arrived?].
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Chapter 7:
BBC. 2016. “Türkiye’de Ham Petrol İthalatındaki Tarihi Rekor.” February 2. Accessed June 14, 2016. rekoru. [Historic Record of Turkey’s Crude Oil Import].
Bennhold, Katrin. 2009. “Leader of Turkey and Israel Clash at Davos Panel.” The New York Times. January 29. Accessed July 15, 2016. world/europe/30clash.html?_r=0.
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EPDK. 2016. “Petrol Piyasası Sektör Raporu 2015.” Petrol/YayinlarRaporlar/Yillik [Petroleum Market Sector Report 2015. EMRA - Energy Market Regulatory Authority].
—. “Yıllık Petrol Piyasası Sektör Raporları.” Petrol/YayinlarRaporlar/Yillik [Annual Oil Sector Reports. EMRA - Energy Market Regulatory Authority].
Gursoy, Begum. 2009. “No ‘One Minute’ to Çalık for Israel Project.” Hurriyet. April 3. Accessed May 28, 2016.
Hurriyet. 2008. “Turkey-Israel Agree to Start Works on Pipeline Project.” July 17. Accessed May 28, 2016.
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Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. 2016. “Action Report of 2015.” February 29. Accessed May 25, 2016.
Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2009. “Turkey’s Energy Strategy.” January. Accessed July 22, 2016. Politikasi/ Turkey's%20Energy%20Strategy%20(Ocak%202009).pdf.
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Turkyilmaz, Oguz. 2015. “Enerji Politikaları Artan Bağımlılık Çıkmazında.” Türkiye’nin Enerji Görünümü Raporu. TMMOB. (200): 2-20. [Increasing Dependency Dilemma of Energy Politics. Report of Turkey’s Energy Outlook. TMMOB - The Union of Chamber of Turkish Engineers and Architects].
Yazar, Yusuf. 2010. “Türkiye’nin Enerjideki Durumu ve Geleceği.” SETA Analiz. December. [Turkey’s Position in Energy and Its Future. SETA Analysis].

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