In a keynote address on September 29 before the Atlantic Council’s second annual Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum in Istanbul, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to an audience of 250 government and business leaders. In introductory remarks, Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor to US Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush and Chairman of the Atlantic Council International Advisory Board, said that Turkey today is increasingly dynamic and modern and that its people enjoy more freedom and opportunity than perhaps at any other time in their history. "Turkey is strong and stable, newly confident about itself and its role in the region, and ambitious for both."
Prime Minister Erdoğan focused on themes of growth and interconnectedness. He talked about growing global demand for energy, and the additional requirements of accommodating those left out of global prosperity. Energy, he said, is an issue affecting trade and diplomacy, and one whose importance will grow along with demand.
The prime minister also spoke about the need for collaborative and forwarding-thinking policies on energy exploration, development, and transmission. He highlighted Turkish leadership on sustainability and security of supply. Remarking on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, Nabucco, and other pipeline projects, Erdoğan observed, "Turkey serves as one of the most important energy corridors in the world."
The prime minister concluded with a discussion of Turkey’s ongoing commitment to close relations with its neighbors and its allies. He emphasized the benefits to both sides of Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
Ross Wilson is the Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. He served as the US ambassador to Turkey from 2005 to 2008. Michelle M. Smith is the Assistant Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.