Poneman, speaking at the 31st annual conference of the Turkish-American Council, which began on Monday in Washington, D.C., remarked that Turkey stands at a “vital intersection” in the maintenance of energy flow to Europe and the provision of the energy demands of its people. Noting that Turkey has strengthened its economy, and in the meantime emerged as a strategic transit location for the transport of oil and natural gas supply to consumers, he explained Turkey has played its inevitable role in ensuring energy security in an efficient way. “If security and economy are the pillars of partnership between the US and Turkey, energy lies at the heart of the partnership,” he stated. The deputy secretary stressed that both nations face difficulties in the energy field, such as dependency on natural resources, strengthening energy security and the struggle with the effects of climate change. However, he said, these complexities also bring opportunities. “In this context, the most recent and hopeful cooperation is on energy efficiency,” he commented. He also mentioned a project being prepared to cope with the energy demand of the increasing number of new companies in the country, creating a win-win situation for both domestic and international companies.
Reminding participants that many critics thought the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC) would not be achieved, Poneman stated, “BTC was achieved as a product of the vision of the states and companies.” In addition to pledging continued US support to pipelines passing through Turkey, he implied the pipelines carry major growth potential, with the expansion of routes and diversification of sources, while creating a more competitive European gas market.
Poneman emphasized that since US President Barack Obama’s visit to Turkey, his first overseas visit in the role, important progress had been made to implement the vision of the US for US-Turkey relations. He explained that security composes the main foundation of ties between the countries, and that both nations had made major contributions to peace and stability in troubled regions around the world as active NATO members, in addition to increasing cooperation in the fight against terror and other threats. Poneman stated that Turkey had made tremendous diplomatic efforts to resolve disagreements between Iran and Western nations stemming from Iran’s nuclear activities, and underlined Turkey’s hosting of critical talks between these countries.