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Forging a new and realistic partnership with the ‘Turkic world’


Hürriyet Daily News |  January/03/2017 Mehmet Öğütçü It is possible to travel from China’s Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region in the east all the way to the Adriatic shores in the west speaking nothing but Turkish. Most people living in this vast geography belong to the Ural-Altaic language family, sharing common historical, religious, cultural and ethnic ties. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, this area - possessing many of the world’s vital natural resources, where the “Great Game” was staged in the 19th century, a place forming the back-bone of the revived Silk Road (“One Belt – One Road” Initiative) launched by China, the...

Any optimism in the Chinese ‘Rooster Year?’


Hürriyet Daily News | December/26/2016 Mehmet Öğütçü LONDON - As the world is preparing to leave 2016 behind as a year fraught with political surprises, financial crises and market volatility, governments and businesses including those in Turkey have started to set their eyes on what the next 12 months have in store for them politically and economically. Clearly, global risks are more elevated and more interconnected than we have ever seen before and demand a proactive and integrated response to address potential impacts. To refresh your memory, since the end of the Bretton Woods order in the 1970s, there have been serious financial...

Rex Tillerson and a positive agenda for Turkish-US ties

20 December in BEC IN THE MEDIA

Hürriyet Daily News | December 20.2016 Mehmet Öğütçü |  Donald Trump is giving signs at every opportunity that he will follow a very different line from the past U.S. presidents we have known until now, and that his management style will not be much different than that in his own real estate business. In the run-up to Jan. 20, 2017, when he will take over from Barack Obama, he has almost completed his cabinet, filling it largely with retired generals and businessmen. The position of secretary of state was the most curious choice for which we all waited. He met and interviewed potential...

Losing a friend in the EU but gaining a better partner in Europe


Hürriyet Daily News | 11 July 2016 MEHMET ÖĞÜTÇÜ Irrespective of what U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said during the Brexit campaign about Turkey perhaps not joining the EU for the next several decades, and the street posters frightening the public about the 78 million Turks flocking to the U.K. if the Remain vote was to prevail, the U.K. has been historically a strong friend of Turkey bilaterally, in the transatlantic partnership and as a standard bearer within the EU for Turkey’s ambitions to join the bloc. Clearly, Turkey has lost its biggest supporter in the EU – not least because all three...

Time to demonstrate a genuine partnership of equals in Ankara and Brussels


Hürriyet Daily News | March 14 2016   CONTRIBUTOR: MEHMET ÖĞÜTÇÜ, STEPHEN JONES Time to demonstrate a genuine partnership of equals in Ankara and Brussels There is a deep unease among Turks that the European Union will wash its hands and conscience of the worsening Syrian refugee situation by extending a colossal handout - now 6 billion euros - to Ankara to make this escalating political problem go away. Meanwhile, judging by the media coverage of the recent EU-Turkey summit on migration, EU citizens could be forgiven for thinking the Turks are driving a hard bargain to extract more concessions from Europe in terms of...

Making diplomacy work for business and vice versa


Hürriyet Daily News | February/16/2016 MEHMET ÖĞÜTÇÜ & EMRE DOĞRU Undoubtedly we are going through turbulent times not so good for business deals and quality investment unless it is a high risk, high return transaction. Geopolitical and economic troubles today are creating a risk-ridden environment for governments and businesses across the world. Turkey is no exception. Policy-makers are striving to mitigate political and security risks for themselves and their corporations, while business leaders are seeking new frontiers of value to remain competitive and protect their turf. However, neither governments nor businesses can do so independently of each other. There is a need for a coherent...

Turkey to extract opportunities out of many crises

18 January in BEC IN THE MEDIA

Hürriyet Daily News | January/18/2016 MEHMET ÖĞÜTÇÜ - STEPHEN JONES There is a Chinese word for “crisis,” which is the same as that for “opportunity.” So many crises are unfolding in Turkey’s backyard, posing serious security and economic challenges. Yet, perhaps no country more than Turkey could potentially benefit or enhance its position if it manages them with foresight and the smart “soft power” instruments at hand. One area is quite obvious in this regard. Turkey’s prospects for closer political ties with the European Union have rarely looked more promising than they do now at a time when it has emerged as a regional superpower,...

Egypt: The catalyst for a new eastern Mediterranean gas hub?

25 November in Uncategorized

Hürriyet Daily News |  November/25/2015 CONTRIBUTOR *Simone Tagliapietra/ **Georg Zachmann In recent years, the eastern Mediterranean has been a hot topic in international gas markets. Since the Tamar and Leviathan fields off the shore of Israel and the Aphrodite field off of Cyprus were discovered in 2009-2011, a number of export options have been discussed, including pipelines to Turkey or Greece and liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Cyprus, Israel and Egypt. Analysts have expressed hopes that the new gas discoveries might also pave the way for a new era of economic and political stability in the region. However, despite high expectations, progress has...

Proposal to create the East Mediterranean Energy Community

25 November in BEC IN THE MEDIA

 Hürriyet Daily News | Wednesday, November 25 2015 LEADING NEWS SOURCE FOR TURKEY AND THE REGION OPINION/ MEHMET ÖĞÜTÇÜ Chairman, The Bosphorus Energy Club After several weeks of consultations in various capitals from Ankara to Tel Aviv, Washington D.C. and Brussels, I believe that it is high time to propose a regional champion to advocate integration, partnerships, dispute settlement, data sharing, analysis and engagement with key stakeholders in a dynamic and informal setting, free from political animosities and tensions.   The strategic objective of the proposed new dynamic, informal, regional umbrella is to create the East Mediterranean Energy Community (EMEC). While hydrocarbon development and exports will constitute one...

China’s One Belt and One Road – Quo Vadis?

27 October in ENERGY ACADEMY

Hürriyet Daily News | October/27/2015 Mehmet Öğütçü |  China’s Silk Road initiative is a real game-changer, irrespective of whether it will succeed or not as planned, in realizing its ambitious one belt and one road project. It is the brainchild of ambitious President Xi Jinping, who wants to leave behind a lasting legacy while at the same time connecting China to the world’s high value markets and sources of energy and raw materials. China hopes that its annual trade volume with belt and road countries will exceed $2.5 trillion in a decade or so. Together, the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st-century Maritime...

What does the future hold: Cables or pipelines?


Hürriyet Daily News | July/06/2015 Mehmet Öğütçü and Julian Popov* When we talk about energy cross-border infrastructure or energy security we usually focus on pipelines, tankers and increasingly on liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and terminals. The world of energy however is transforming fast and there is a good chance that high voltage power cables will become strong competitors of the oil and gas pipelines and the maritime routes.  Today China is the biggest investor in high voltage direct current (HVDC) cables which can carry electricity with only 3.5 percent loss per 1,000 kilometers. Most of them connect internal points of generation and consumption...

New energy dynamics: The time is here for a new international energy governance


Hürriyet Daily News | 13 April 2015 Mehmet Öğütçü – Urban Rusnák* Rapidly changing energy dynamics are set to determine the course of our economic development, complex geopolitical confrontations, amazing technological breakthroughs and massive investment and trade flows. As a result, the newly emerging energy game, with players and rules that have changed beyond recognition over the past two decades, will continue to stay in the spotlight. The way that global and local energy businesses, technology companies and financial institutions conduct their business has also changed fundamentally. Those who have not adapted or who drag their feet against much-needed reforms will not likely have...