2009 Country of the Year: Republic of Turkey
Remarks by Leocadia I. Zak, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency
December 7, 2009
Turkey is a critical ally . . . And Turkey and the United States must stand together – and work together – to overcome the challenges of our time.
- President Barack Obama, Speech to the Parliament of Turkey, April 6, 2009
The United States Trade and Development Agency is proud to name the Republic of Turkey the 2009 recipient of its Country of the Year Award. Turkey has a long history of engaging USTDA in the early project planning stages for many of its infrastructure development priorities. This has allowed USTDA to play a catalytic role in advancing numerous infrastructure projects, including the deployment of a number of new energy sources for Turkey. By engaging USTDA at the project planning stage, the Agency has been able to open the door for U.S. industry to play an important role in Turkey's continued economic development.
The importance of this successful cooperation was further highlighted when President Obama included Turkey in his first overseas trip earlier this year. During that visit, President Obama told the Turkish Parliament that, "We want to expand the trade and investment that can bring prosperity for all people . . . Our focus will be on what we can do, in partnership with people across the Muslim world, to advance our common hopes and our common dreams."
In April 2009, just prior to President Obama's visit to Turkey, USTDA and Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources established the U.S. – Turkey Clean Energy Partnership. The agreement grew out of Turkey's priority commitment to meet the nation's burgeoning demand for increased energy capacity and to accomplish that goal by employing new clean energy technologies. The Partnership will build on past successes resulting from USTDA-funded activities, of which there are notable examples.
For example, in May 2009, the Germincik geothermal power plant began commercial operation. The concept and planning process for the facility originated in a feasibility study funded by USTDA. It is the largest plant of its type in Turkey, providing over 40MW of clean energy. Important in this effort is the role of the U.S. private sector, which exported $22 million in U.S.-manufactured goods and services during construction. As a follow-on to this success in the geothermal sector, USTDA funded a reverse trade mission for Turkish private sector officials to come to the United States to visit with U.S. businesses that provide goods, services and technologies in geothermal and solar energy. The delegates visited facilities in New Mexico, California and Nevada to better understand the technology and the kinds of decisions that govern the choices among differing power solutions. The delegates also interacted with U.S. firms at the Geothermal Energy Association's 2009 Geothermal Energy Expo in Reno, Nevada to forge relationships that will facilitate future initiatives.
Other outstanding examples of U.S. - Turkey cooperation include the development of an independent thermal power generation plant in Hereke, Turkey, which is providing a stable supply of power to a region heavily affected by the earthquake of 1999. In addition to ensuring greater access to electricity, this project has generated almost $63 million in U.S. exports.
On the development side, following the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, based in part on USTDA grant assistance, the BTC Pipeline Company invested over $23 million in development projects to raise living standards of the local Turkish population. This has resulted in investments in education, agriculture and clean water projects in over 300 villages. In addition, social investment programs have been implemented in 10 provinces from Ardahan in the Northeast to Adana on the Mediterranean, further demonstrating the long-term benefits of USTDA's cooperation with Turkey.
As a final note, USTDA is already supporting new programs under the Clean Energy Partnership that are promoting the growth of Turkey's solar power usage, expanding clean coal technology and advancing energy efficiency projects to meet Turkey's growing need for new sources of power generation.
USTDA is delighted to add Turkey to the distinguished list of high-performing partners who have earned the Agency's Country of the Year award. Building on past experience and successes in Turkey, USTDA plans to continue its support for clean energy projects, as well as assistance in other sectors, such as: transportation, emergency management, and information and communications technology. The agency takes great pride in the strong ties forged with Turkey and the mutual benefits that have resulted.
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