New era starts in Turkey-EU relations with Nabucco

The Times of India - Turkey has signed a landmark deal with four EU countries to pipe gas from the Caspian and the Middle East, reducing Europe's dependency on Russian deliveries and securing itself an alternative gas supply. The signing of the accord - a milestone in the Nabucco Natural Gas Pipeline Project - took place in the Turkish capital Ankara by the prime ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey. The 3,300-kilometer conduit is supposed to become operational in 2014 at an estimated cost of EUR 7.9 billion. It is due to pump billions of cubic meters from the Caspian Sea to Austria via Turkey and the Balkans, bypassing Russia. The project "is of crucial importance for the EU's and Turkey's energy security", said European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso at the signing ceremony. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the pipeline will boost Turkey’s EU membership bid. "Our country's natural gas infrastructure will be integrated with that of Europe and mutual solidarity will be possible in times of potential crisis", he said. Barroso said the project "could open the door to a new era in relations between Turkey and the EU, and beyond."