Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Races, Bombs and a Televised Penguin: An Examination of Turkey’s Successful Quest for Nuclear Energy
Authors: Zhou, Jack Yujie
Advisors: Glaser, Alexander
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: Policymakers and scholars have relied on the logic that Turkey needs nuclear energy in order to meet its future electricity demand to justify Turkey’s nuclear energy program. Our analysis showed that Turkey’s economic and population growth exceeds regional and global averages and that 2020 electricity projections is beyond Turkey’s current generation capacity. However, the necessity argument is flawed in that there are alternative means for Turkey to meet electricity projections. My research has identified multiple models where Turkey can meet projections using renewable sources. The thesis seeks to provide alternative motivations for Turkey’s nuclear energy program. One such motivation is the strategic diversity that nuclear power can provide by reducing Turkish energy dependence. Another key motivator of nuclear energy in Turkey is geopolitical security. The collapse of Turkey’s ‘zero problem’ foreign policy has led to discordant rhetoric with its nuclear capable neighbors. This coincides with a devaluation of NATO deterrence in Turkey, encouraging Turkey to develop its own deterrence options. The nuclearization of the Middle East invites the perspective that nuclear energy has become a medium of competition among the Middle Eastern states to showcase their levels of economic and technological development. As Turkey has ambitions to be a regional leader, there is an incentive for it to be the first country to develop a nuclear energy program. Institutional changes under the Justice and Development Party are perhaps the most compelling reasons why Turkey has been successful with its Akkuyu and Sinop sites. First, the AKP has extensive influence over the media, reducing the effectiveness and magnitude of civilian opposition. Second, policymakers have disclosed few details about its nuclear energy program, making it difficult for experts to analyze the profitability and safety of Turkish NPPs. Third, the political strength of the AKP limits opposition power and allow it to pursue controversial projects such as a nuclear energy program. This thesis demonstrates that the discussion of why Turkey desires nuclear energy and why it has been successful is not a one-dimensional argument based on energy considerations and I encourage the development alternative explanations for nuclear energy in Turkey.
Extent: 95 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

Files in This Item:
File SizeFormat 
PUTheses2015-Zhou_Jack_Yujie.pdf816.94 kBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.