Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey - Iran sign power pact

To the annoyance of the US, Turkey is persisting in boosting ties with America's regional foes in Syria and Iran.

The latest move was the signing of an energy pact to establish joint power-production projects. Turkey's Energy Minister, Hilmi Guler, revealed that more agreements between the two were in the pipeline.

Turkey has been ignoring US calls for its allies to cut business ties with Iran and has instead ventured in the opposite direction. Ankara has sought to greatly develop economic and bilateral ties with both Syria and Iran, particularly as a number of divergent issues begin to converge on similar interests.

Talks of a 3,000km pipeline from Central Asia via Iran to Turkey for export to the EU, bypassing Russia, are progressing. Ironically, the proposed project has attracted disdain from both Moscow and Washington, but may come as a relief to European customers paranoid over Russia's unpredictable use of gas as a weapon.

Nonetheless, Turkey's new sense of direction and renewed interest in the Middle East is likely to be welcomed by some and disapproved by others.

Read the AFP article featured in The Daily Star.

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