ISLAMABAD - Turkey has a good chance to become an energy hub if it keeps the historical achievements it made in the last decade, Martin Raiser, said country director for Turkey of the World Bank.

“Turkey has taken major steps in the past decade and nearly half of them was to implement independent regulatory institutions for strengthening the rule of law to improve business opportunities,” Raiser said, during the International Energy and Environment Fair and Conference in Istanbul, Anadolu Agency reported Sunday. “It is very important for the government to restore the confidence that the investors have in quality of the regulatory framework and the independence of the regulatory agencies, whether it is EMRA (Energy Market Regulatory Authority) in energy sector, or BRSA (Bank Regulation and Supervision Agency) in banking sector, or Central Bank in monetary policy” Raiser told Anadolu Agency.

“These are absolutely critical achievements that Turkey has had, and shouldn’t give up. For the regulated energy sector, it is particularly important that everyone believes that regulatory agencies are independent and is not subject to political influence and takes even arms-length decisions with regard to market participants.”

Turkey, dependent on energy imports with limited natural sources,introduced EMRA in 2001 as an independent regulatory body to oversee oil, gas, electricity and other markets within the energy sector. Turkey, in need of foreign direct investment, tries to boost liberalization in energy market for attracting investors. Turkey has seen an invesment of 75 billion dollars in energy sector since the founding of EMRA in 2001, according to unofficial figures obtained from Turkey’s energy ministry.

The World Bank is currently working with Turkey’s energy ministry to reform the legislation of the natural gas market, which might allow Turkey to attract competing sources of supply for its domestic market and ultimately make it better positioned to supply for European markets. Turkey is in a strategic geographical location “between major markets in Europe and major supply sources in further east,” said Raiser.  He said this geostrategic advantage increases Turkey’s chances to become a global energy hub, adding that Turkey’s geopolitical context require resolving some of the political issues around energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean basin and Iraq.