APA’s Turkey correspondent has had an interview with Matthew Bryza, former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan.
Q: As a diplomat distinctly familiar with Azerbaijan and the region, you have during your mission supported projects of transferring Azerbaijan’s energy resources to the world market. What was the impression of TANAP opening ceremony?
A: Thank you for touching upon this highly important point. These issues have always been the focus of my activities, and I am glad to now see one of the most important them being carried out today. TANAP, which is being implemented thanks to the strong will of Azerbaijan and Turkey, will increase in importance over time. As the scope of the project grows, everyone will see how important this work is for Europe. Note that we’re talking about Europe's energy supply and security needs developing in parallel. As for my activity, you have witnessed that I have never spared my support to Azerbaijan's key energy projects, doing all I can for my country to support these projects. So I can’t swallow my pride while I’m attending the TANAP opening ceremony today. Actually, I believe that I have a voice in this success. This project has turned Azerbaijan into a key player in the global energy market, both economically and geo-strategically. It is now certain that Azerbaijan, which is in a very harmonious cooperation with Turkey and BP in implementing this project, will successfully do its part in realizing the TAP project as early as in 2020.
Q: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who attended the TANAP opening ceremony, condemned Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. In your opinion, what was the reason for this and was the ceremony the right place for it?
A: I believe there is no need to exaggerate this, because Poroshenko, as the president elected by the people democratically, expressed the troubles of his people from an important platform. In my opinion, the issue the Ukrainian president wanted to emphasize is that he wants major international projects to serve peace and prosperity. Since TANAP is a project serving these mentioned goals, the Ukrainian president considered it appropriate to raise the issue of his country's problems with the neighboring country. Instead of reacting to it, Russia needs to seriously analyze it.
Q: In October 2016, Turkey and Israel held discussions on natural gas sales. If Israel starts selling gas to Turkey, how can competition in the market increase? The TurkStream project, which Russia is trying to implement, is nearing an end. Do you think Turkey is trying to incite the market trying to reduce the price of gas?
A: Of course, this is the right of a country that does not have its own natural resources. In my opinion, Israel should act considering the sensitivity in the region and especially the Turkey-South Cyprus issue in the search for natural gas and the exploitation of fields in the Mediterranean. Otherwise, Turkey-Israel cooperation in this area may face problems. As for the TurkStream project, I think that the main point here is the quick completion of the TANAP. In this regard, Turkey and Azerbaijan took the initiative in the market before all. After a while the U.S. will also be able to join this positive competitive environment, aimed at selling gas to Europe, and to offer its own gas to Europe.
Q: Do you think the price of natural gas in the world market will drop after the U.S. offers its product?
A: (Laughs) A competitive environment is needed just for this. The leading will be the one who will attract customers with product at the lowest cost. Thanks to this, economic systems will be able to find a more favorable atmosphere for development so that the countries will improve, peace and tranquility will be ensured, welfare of the peoples will increase.