In a move certain to raise hackles in Washington, Iran and Turkey have agreed to connect their electrical power grids. According to an amendment to the Electricity Market Law submitted to parliament, Turkeyâ€™s isolated eastern and southern regions will be able to import electricity on an ad hoc basis until December 31, 2009, in the event of blackouts or network difficulties (Fars News Agency, April 4).
According to the backers of the amendment, eastern, southeastern and southern Turkey do not have enough technical capacity to purchase electric power other than with an â€œelectric isolation supplyâ€ system, as they have failed to make sufficient investments for upgrading the infrastructure. Accordingly, the new legislation allows the â€œelectric isolation supplyâ€ solution to be used temporarily to import electricity from Turkeyâ€™s neighbors to specific regions isolated from Turkeyâ€™s electricity grid, should these regions encounter power shortages or network problems (Todayâ€™s Zaman, April 4).
Perhaps the people of the Middle East are better suited to working out their own problems than we are. Let’s see if anyone in Washington agrees or appreciates the efforts.
Still, an interim solution of purchasing electricity is hardly going to cause major diplomatic strain between the United States and Turkey. Furthermore, by improving the standard of living, the project may actually reduce tension in Turkeyâ€™s southeast, where most of the countryâ€™s Kurdish population is located and where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been most active. If a charter member of the â€œAxis of Evilâ€ helped decrease the threat of terrorism in a NATO memberâ€™s territory, that would be a development that even Washington skeptics could applaud.