The head of Greece’s official investment and trade promotion agency has said that “the time has come” for Türkiye and Greece to focus on energy cooperation in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

“Bearing in mind the historic cultural and trade ties between our countries along with the collaborations established within the framework of a positive agenda, I believe the time has come for Greece and Türkiye to take the next steps toward fostering energy cooperation in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Seas,” Marinos Giannopoulos, the CEO of Enterprise Greece, said.

Ankara and Athens have over the recent months agreed to put aside decades-old disputes and focus on areas where they can find consensus. The list of items on the so-called positive agenda includes trade, energy, education and cultural ties.

Türkiye and Greece have long been at odds over issues including maritime boundaries, energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, flights over the Aegean Sea and ethnically split Cyprus island.

Giannopoulos’ remarks came after the Turkish metropolis Istanbul hosted the first Greek-Turkish Energy Forum in April, bringing together experts and officials from the energy sectors of the two countries.

He recommended that both countries step up energy discussions, organize bilateral business and energy forums, and promote joint investments in energy infrastructure and technology development.

He further advised that the two countries encourage public-private partnerships, with both governments proceeding with the alignment of their regulatory and legal frameworks to support cross-border projects effectively.

Giannopoulos envisages that Enterprise Greece can play a role in aiding bilateral cooperation.

“Enterprise Greece is actively supporting and participating in our government’s initiatives that promote the positive agenda on a bilateral level,” he told an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA).

“We will be happy to participate in any future initiatives that promote Greece and Türkiye’s energy cooperation.”

Over the last two decades, Greece and Türkiye have established major electricity and gas interconnections across the Greek-Turkish border and have developed active cross-border transmission, electricity and gas trading.

One of key sectors for cooperation

As Greece offers investment opportunities for Turkish companies in several energy subsectors, Giannopoulos recommended that Türkiye take advantage of the country’s renewables potential, taking into account the large-scale infrastructure projects being developed and its key role in the EU’s energy mix potential and access to the EU energy market.

According to Giannopoulos, among these opportunities are new infrastructure in natural gas transmission, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, pipelines, interconnections and natural gas distribution systems.

He also listed other investment possibilities, such as renewable energy projects, biomass, small hydro, and geothermal energy.

Other areas for collaboration could be green hydrogen, carbon capture, energy storage, energy efficiency and conservation projects, electricity grid interconnectivity and sustainable energy projects for the islands, and the upgrading and development of cross-border electricity grid interconnections.

The senior Greek official also said that Turkish companies can capitalize on the growing Greek renewable energy market by leveraging several upcoming opportunities, such as investing directly, forming strategic alliances with Greek renewable energy firms, and taking advantage of Greek government reforms.

Over the last four years, the Greek government has implemented several initiatives and reforms to support the country’s green transition.

Among these is the target to increase renewable energy to 23.9 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, from the 11 GW in 2023 in line with the Revised National Energy and Climate Plan (2023-2030). It also encompasses the establishment of a well-structured framework for renewable energy auctions, an efficient regulatory framework for investments, and the implementation of new laws on investments.

Citing a recent meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakisin in May, Giannopoulos said that the two leaders reaffirmed “the positive agenda and the pledge for doubling of bilateral economic affairs between our neighboring countries within the next five years.”

Giannopoulos advised that both countries cooperate given the significant energy challenges that lie ahead with their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing while maintaining energy security.

“We view energy to be one of the key business sectors for cooperation and development of joint projects in both countries,” he noted.

Building stronger ties in the energy sector, particularly through renewables, holds immense potential for both countries, he explained.

“We are positive that there are very good prospects and opportunities for further cooperation in the future between our countries in the broad energy sector, as we have also seen and discussed during our recent participation at the first Greece-Türkiye Energy Forum,” he said.

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