Norway treats Turkey with kid glove – possibly got eyes set on Turkish hydropower commercial opportunities in return?

So, it seems Norway is prepared to ignore Turkeys abysmal and worsening human rights records.

Our PM manages to praise Erdogan for work well done in the area of human rights, conflict resolution, when in reality, more and more journalists are facing persecution and imprisonment, the Kurds continue to suffer heavy casualties on Turkish as well as Iraqi side of the border due to Turkish military actions, and while all of this is going on, life is not exactly a party for the Christian other non-muslim minorities in the country….For a moment I thought our PM was being sarcastic, but then I noticed how much money that was at stake for us.

I really hope our investment opportunities will pay the price for the damage this does to our humanistic super power reputation….

Increased cooperation between Norway and Turkey

Norway and Turkey signed two research cooperation agreements in Ankara today, one in the area of statistics and one on conflict prevention and reconciliation efforts. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan also agreed to establish a dialogue on human rights issues discussed at the UN and in the European Council and the OSCE.

The cooperation agreement between Statistics Norway and the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) will focus on developing population and business registers, macroeconomic consultancy services and surveys in third countries in Central Asia and the Middle East.

An agreement between Norway and Turkey was also signed on intensifying cooperation on conflict prevention and reconciliation issues. The agreement provides for increased cooperation between Norwegian and Turkish research groups working in this field, with a particular focus on the Middle East.

The topics discussed at the meeting between Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Erdogan also included the economic situation in Europe, trade and industry cooperation, energy, and the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Turkey, by virtue of its strategic location, high ambitions and expertise, is an exciting partner for Norway in a growing number of areas. Closer cooperation between our countries was also warmly welcomed by my colleague, Prime Minister Erdogan, at the meeting today,” said Mr Stoltenberg.

Civil rights issues were also discussed at the meeting:
“Turkey has seen progress in a number of fields, for instance with regard to women’s rights and cultural and linguistic rights for the Kurdish population. However, there are still issues that need to be addressed, such as freedom of expression. So, I am pleased that we have agreed to establish a dialogue between our two countries on human rights issues discussed at the UN and in the European Council and the OSCE,” said Mr Stoltenberg.

Earlier in the day, Mr Stoltenberg also had meetings with President Abdullah Gul, Speaker of the Parliament Cemil Cicek and leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Norwegian hydropower project under way in Turkey in 2012

Norwegian Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg today met Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz. Following the meeting they addressed a ceremony at the site of Statkraft’s Kargi hydropower project by videolink. There, a foundation stone was being laid to mark the start of the construction work.

When the hydropower plant is completed in 2013, it will deliver clean, renewable energy equivalent to the consumption of 150 000 households (470 GWh).

“Turkey’s economic growth and rising population create a great demand for energy, making Turkey one of the world’s fastest growing energy markets. The combination of many new hydropower projects and a deregulated energy market makes Turkey a prime location for Norwegian companies operating in the international energy market,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

The Kargi plant will be Statkraft’s second hydropower plant in Turkey. Statkraft is already operating a hydropower plant in Cakit, in the south of the country, and has recently started building a third plant, Cetin, in the south-east. When completed, the three power plants will together produce almost 2 TWh annually.

Hull of Norwegian-owned vessel launched in Turkey

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg attended the launch of the hull of the Norwegian-owned offshore vessel the M/S Grand Canyon at the Bogazici Tersan shipyard in Yalova, Turkey. The vessel will now be towed to Norway and completed at the Bergen Group Fosen shipyard in Rissa, near Trondheim.

During the ceremony, Stoltenberg pointed out that it was no coincidence that the launch was on his itinerary during his visit to Turkey.

“Norway and Turkey have a long tradition of business cooperation in the maritime sector. Tersan shipyard alone now has a total of eight hulls and ships on order for Norwegian interests, worth a total of almost NOK 2 billion,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
Turkish Minister of Transport and Communication Binali Yildirim was also present at the launch, together with a number of key representatives of the Turkish and Norwegian maritime sectors.

Mr Stoltenberg was also able to see the M/S Høydal, a Norwegian ship which is being built at the yard on behalf of the company NSK Shipping, based in North Norway. The M/S Høydal is a specially designed cargo ship that will be assigned to the fish feed manufacturer BioMar in Norway. This will be the world’s first LNG-powered coaster, and the vessel should be ready to load her first cargo in Norway in May 2012. The M/S Høydal will have a cargo capacity of 2200 tonnes of fish feed, making her the world’s largest operational fish feed cargo vessel. Natural gas (LNG) propulsion will make the vessel environmentally friendly and reduce emissions of NOx (nitrogen oxides) by over 90 %.

The visit to the shipyard was the last item on Mr Stoltenberg’s schedule during his two-day visit to Turkey

Norwegian Prime Minister promotes Norwegian seafood in Turkey

At a seafood event in Istanbul, Turkey, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg prepared and served samples of Norwegian salmon and herring to a large Turkish press corps, along with the captain of Norway’s national culinary team, Jostein Medhus.

The sale of Norwegian seafood to Turkey has increased in recent years. In 2010, sales of seafood to Turkey rose by 27% compared with the year before. Salmon, mackerel and saithe were the main products, with exports totalling over NOK 500 million.

At the event, which was also attended by Turkish Minister of Transport Bilani Yildirim, a Norwegian seafood lunch was served for the Turkish and Norwegian business delegates.

“Turkey has great potential as a market for the Norwegian seafood industry, since the country has around 75 million consumers and on the whole the population’s purchasing power is increasing. This event is part of our efforts to profile Norway and Norwegian industry and seafood in Turkey. We have also been able to showcase Norwegian culinary expertise,” said Mr Stoltenberg, adding that there had been great interest in the event.

Through its EFTA membership, Norway has a free trade agreement with Turkey that provides duty-free access for seafood products. The event in Istanbul was part of the joint strategy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Innovation Norway and the Seafood Council to promote the Norwegian seafood industry in Turkey.

Just to put the whole thing into perspective… Israel is involved in a less bloody and less protracted territorial conflict than Turkey, and while Israel time and again gets blasted for having the audacity to protect itself and its citizens, yet, the Norwegian Government coalition is hell bent on damaging Israel.

Turkey on the other hand, literally gets away with murder.

A splendid example of Norwegian double standards.