Danish companies eye Turkish delights despite recent friction between the two countries

Energy and climate minister in Istanbul this week

The climate and energy minister, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, is in Turkey this week as part of the government's growth strategy that aims to increase Danish exports to Turkey by 50 percent from 2012-2016.

Turkey wants to increase its share of sustainable energy to 30 percent and increase its wind energy tenfold by 2023. That presents a unique opportunity for Danish wind-turbine producers.

”Turkey is a regional power with a modern business sector and an economy that is on the rise,” Petersen said in a press release.

”The Turkish sustainable energy and wind power goals send an important signal. The Turks want to increase investment in sustainable energy instead of coal and energy imported from countries in conflict. And that's a sensible solution.”

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Huge potential
Turkey – the 16th largest economy in the world – imports 75 percent of its overall energy consumption from abroad, including from Russia and Iran, and it expects to double its energy consumption over the next decade.

In order to reach the 30 percent sustainable energy target, the Turkish government wants to invest about 750 billion kroner by 2030.

”This could be the start of a Danish wind-turbine adventure in Turkey,” Petersen said. ”Danish companies, particularly within wind energy, have every opportunity to utilise the export potential that exits following Turkey's ambitious sustainable energy plans.”

During his visit to Istanbul this week, Petersen will speak at a Turkish wind conference and visit Danish wind-turbine companies operating in the country. Vestas has been present in the country for years having installed its first wind turbine in Turkey back in 1984.

READ MORE: Denmark to cite Turkey's release of Hedegaard suspect at the EU

Stumbling blocks on the horizon
Potential bi-lateral agreements, however, could face obstacles due to the Danish-Turkish relations becoming strained in recent weeks following the release of the principal suspect in the Lars Hedegaard assassination attempt case from a Turkish prison.

The Danes in turn threatened to possibly derail Turkey's EU membership bid by citing Turkey's involvement in the case at a EU meeting late last month that looked into whether Turkey has been adhering to union membership standards.

Turkey then complained about the Danish court's decision to acquit all ten plaintiffs accused of collecting upwards of 140 million kroner on behalf of the Kurdish group PKK – which is considered a terrorist organisation by the US, Turkey and the EU.

But the prospect of lucrative business may have eased the strain between the two nations, at least for now, after Denmark’s prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt stated that “taking the issue to the EU now would be out of place”.