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Turkish-U.S. Business Council

November 16, 2007 - 4:31pm

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Remarks as Prepared for Secretary Bodman

Thank you Minister Guler for the introduction.  And let me say how very much I appreciated your remarks just now.  I also want to extend my personal greetings to Mr. Sahenk and to the members of the Turkish-U.S. Business Council's Executive Committee for sponsoring this lunch.

We have many things to talk about this afternoon.  Since leaving the United States, I was in Rome for the World Energy Congress and have been to Turkmenistan for the 12th Annual Turkmenistan Industrial Oil and Gas Exhibition.  What I said to them is the same as I am going to say to you.  From the standpoint of the global economy and our shared need for its continued growth, we must become very serious about global energy security.

Back in the United States, the President and I have been aggressively promoting energy security as a central part of our national and economic security considerations.  And it's true:  the United States must have access to the energy it needs to fuel our production lines, power our cars and buses, heat our homes, and care for our citizens.  But the United States is no different than Turkey, or China, or India, or France, or Brazil or almost any country in the world; all of them need access to clean, reliable and affordable sources of energy.

Because of the robust economic growth around the world especially in places like China and India the global demand for energy is expected to increase dramatically and at a rapid pace over the next 25 years.  By 2030 the global demand for electricity alone is expected to double.

At the same time, we are experiencing very tight energy markets, with too much of our energy supplies coming from politically troubled parts of the world.  And so every nation must come to grips with the need to increase its own energy security.  And when they do, they will begin to see that the need to increase energy security is a global problem that calls for a global solution.

I, for one, remain convinced that an open and competitive market is the most efficient way to address questions of supply, demand and price.

What, in my judgment, we need to do is embark on a new era of global cooperation that drives a global diversification of energy supplies and energy suppliers.  We need to accelerate the development of advanced technologies that will power our future.  We need to develop clean coal technology in order to use the world's vast coal resources in an environmentally friendly manner.  And we need to promote a greater reliance on alternative and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, geothermal energy and very importantly clean, safe, reliable nuclear power.

It also means that we need to promote energy efficiency around the world.

When I speak on energy-related issues in the United States, I often point out that, in an economy the size of ours, the most abundant source of new energy available to us is the energy we currently waste everyday.  The U.S. has doubled its energy efficiency since the 1980s, but we need to do more.  And so we are taking dramatic steps to develop new, clean energy and energy efficient technologies that will provide timely solutions to the problems of the future.

At the Department of Energy, we are investing in the entire innovation cycle from the universities to laboratories to the marketplace.  We've invested $37 billion in clean energy technology and instituted tax incentives to get these out into the marketplace.

And this is an area where I think your efforts to improve Turkish-U.S. business relationships and to enhance investment opportunities can play an important role.

For example, I know that the Council has been aggressive in its support for the U.S.-Turkish Clean Energy Conference.   I am committed to seeing it occur at the earliest possible time, perhaps this January.  In fact, Ambassador Wilson and I discussed as much when he was in Washington last week.  The Clean Energy Conference between our two countries will do much to facilitate the exchange of ideas and technologies that will enhance our two country's energy security as well as this region's.

It is undeniable that Turkey is evolving into a vital energy transit hub.  Turkey is an important energy gateway between the East and the West.  I was present when the first oil entered the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan pipeline in 2005 and, on Sunday, I will witness the opening ceremony of the Turkey-Greece Interconnector, a groundbreaking, independent pipeline sending Caspian gas to Europe.

The United States is, throughout the region, as well as in Turkey, working to enhance energy security, increase energy supplies, and diversify energy transportation routes.  And we will support Turkey, which is a strong and dependable ally, in its role as a major oil and gas transit route in a market governed by fair and transparent rules.

Turkey has energy needs of its own.  I am encouraged by your recent efforts to develop a new legal framework for civil nuclear power.  I will be speaking with representatives of the Turkish government including, of course, Minister Guler about joining President Bush's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, an international framework for facilitating the worldwide expansion of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in a safe and secure manner.

The GNEP Statement of Principals establishes, among other things, the common goal of creating reliable fuel services that will provide a viable and economic alternative to the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies.  The partnership seeks to take advantage of the best available fuel cycle approaches to recycle spent nuclear fuel to reduce the amount of waste and tap its unused energy.

The Partnership now has 17 members.Italy joined on Tuesday.  Turkey attended the second GNEP ministerial in Vienna as an observer and I hope will see the benefits of becoming a full member at some point in the near future.

There are abundant opportunities for Turkey to develop clean energy initiatives, to increase its use of solar and wind power, to establish a viable, cost-effective biofuels industry and to develop the infrastructure it will need to meet its own future energy challenges in an environmentally responsible way.  As a former businessman myself, I see significant investment opportunities in clean energy.

Before I conclude, I want to make certain that no one leaves here doubting the importance the United States places on our strategic relationship with Turkey.  You are our ally and our partner.  We value Turkey's regional leadership role, its role in transiting oil and gas from Eurasian nations to Europe and the rest of the world.

Equally important is the value we place on Turkey's support for the war on terror.  The PKK is an enemy of Turkey, an enemy of Iraq, and an enemy of the United States.  President Bush and Prime Minister Erdogan met last week and discussed how Turkey and the United States can work together to eliminate PKK terrorism, beginning with increased intelligence-sharing.  We will continue to work with the government of Iraq against the PKK and call on Iraqi authorities to fulfill their public comments in this regard.

The United States and Turkey are longtime friends.  Ours is a special relationship, one I hope my visit here will help to strengthen.  Together, we can help show the way to a secure energy future to this vital region of the world.  And I believe that we will.

Thank you.

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Media contact(s): Megan Barnett, (202) 586-4940

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