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France and Turkey: Another Nuclear Courtship

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008

Whether or not the Nabucco pipeline will ever be built (see today's WPR exclusive for more) remains to be seen. One thing's for sure, though. If it does end up happening, France won't be seeing any of the profits. After the French parliament passed a resolution criminalizing denial of the Armenian genocide in 2006, Turkey retaliated by stonewalling Gaz de France's participation in the Nabucco project. Nicolas Sarkozy's opposition to Turkish EU membership didn't help matters. German power giant RWE was ultimately selected to be the pipeline's sixth partner earlier this month.

So what's France's deputy Trade Minister Herve Novelli doing this week in Ankara? Here's a hint: Turkey recently announced plans to launch its civil nuclear program and will soon accept official tenders on its first reactor project. Or as Novelli puts it (ever so much more eloquently):

"It is true that political disputes have affected economic decisions, but we can find a solution to the political problems by intensifying our economic relations," said Novelli.

France? Eager to peddle nuclear energy to the Arab world? Who'd have thunk it...