Anadolu Agency, Turkey
May 10 2004
Gonul: 135 Million Tons Of Oil Were Transported Through Turkish
BERLIN – Turkish National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul has said,
”135 million tons of oil were transported through Turkish Straits
last year. This amount is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent
Speaking at a panel discussion on ”Security in Black Sea Region”
under the 21st International Workshop on Global Security Conference
in German capital Berlin, Gonul highlighted important of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, saying that the project
would enable them to transport 50 million tons of oil annually.
Expressing Turkey’s satisfaction with co-operation in efforts to
provide peace and stability in the Black Sea region despite ongoing
crises in Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan, Gonul said that trade in
the region had accelerated, stability had been provided and relations
between regional nations had been improved since 1992.
Stressing that Turkey attributed great importance to regional and
international co-operation and solidarity, Gonul recalled that Turkey
had been actively supporting the Balkan Stability Pact, Southeast
European Defense Ministers’ Initiative and the Black Sea Economic
Noting that Turkey had further improved its bilateral relations with
the regional countries after the Cold War era ended, Gonul said that
23 separate conventions and protocols were signed with the Black Sea
littoral countries to this end.
Recalling that co-operation agreements were signed with Russia and
Ukraine, Gonul noted, ”Turkey’s bilateral relations with Bulgaria,
Romania and Georgia have further improved following the Cold War era.
Another significant security dimension of the Black Sea stems from
its strategic position as a transit corridor for energy resources.
Besides Russian oil, Caspian oil has also been transported through
the Black Sea. Meanwhile, Turkey is seriously concerned over
increasing vessel traffic in the Black Sea and in the Turkish
Referring to political problems in the Black Sea region, Gonul said,
”Southern Caucasus has begun gaining more importance due to
transportation of oil, natural gas and foodstuff. Any instability in
the region would have negative impacts not only on the region, but on
the whole Europe and Atlantic.”
Listing autonomous Republic of Adzharia and the Upper Karabakh
disputes as the most important sources of instability in the region,
Gonul called on the regional countries to exert more efforts to
resolve these crises.
Gonul added, ”the Black Sea countries should also take some further
steps in fight against international terrorism, organized crimes and
weapons of mass destruction. I believe that improvement of bilateral
relations in the region would make a valuable contribution to efforts
to provide peace and stability in the region.”
Later, Gonul left Germany for Turkey.