Turkey and Albania: Strategic partnership in a multi-polar world


written by Peter Tase
printable version

7 April Monday, 2014 Rapid national economic growth and integration in the European Union are among the top priorities in the Albanian government’s current strategy. Albania’s aspirations in international trade would be incomplete if Turkish markets and investors are not part of this process and strategy. Ankara has historically maintained excellent political relations with Tirana and is constantly striving to reach new heights of strengthened commercial ties. Albania, thanks to its sustainable economic development course, has been successful in increasing the presence of foreign direct investments in the country and was not affected by the financial crises reigning over Europe for the last three years. Coincidentally, the Republic of Turkey, just like Albania, has successfully managed to avoid the negative consequences precipitated by some EU member states. To raise the level of cooperation between both countries and maximize the benefits from their excellent political relations, Albania and Turkey must begin to revitalize and rekindle their bilateral trade relations. Albania can learn much from Turkey, not only from its agricultural sector and innovation in technology, but also in adapting cutting edge technology and engineering innovation applied in the construction of hydroelectric dams, such as in the current Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) in Turkey. This development project is located in one of the regions that has great potential for generating renewable energy through hydroelectric dams. According to Prof. Kamil Kaygusuz, a research scholar focused on Turkey’s renewable energy resources and infrastructure, it is estimated that Turkey has the potential to produce 433 GW—equal to 1.2% of the world’s total hydroelectric power production. For its part, Albania is emerging as a regional player in the production of hydroelectric energy, however the current technology used in some of the largest operational dams does not guarantee their full efficiency and carries a level of uncertainty regarding their operational status in the future. In the long run, adopting Turkey’s technological research and development skills, and using modern equipment in its hydroelectric dams would benefit Albania’s plans to effectively administer its currently operational dams. It would also improve the infrastructure of its energy sector as well as help secure its future in becoming a leading nation in renewable energy production. Another important area where Turkey can serve as a role model for Albania and help improve its national image is the agricultural sector. In 2010, Turkey led the world in fig production, generating over 254,838 metric tons (MT) and exporting over 13,700 MT. Albania has great potential in s fruit and vegetable exports, unfortunately the lack of food-packaging infrastructure and the absence of added value to its agricultural products makes this sector suffer and leaves it unable to introduce its products to the EU market. Albania can find a great strategic partner in Turkey and Ankara’s industrial and economic model can serve as genuine start for Tirana’s aspirations to embrace the developed world.

Read the article: http://www.turkishweekly.net/op-ed/3173/turkey-and-albania-strategic-partnership-in-a-multi-polar-world.html

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