Estonia maintains support for Turkish EU bid
Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves gave his full backing
to Turkish membership of the European Union on Friday during a state visit by
his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul.
Speaking in the elegant surroundings of Kadriorg Palace in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, Ilves described Turkey as "a firm ally of Europe" and affirmed that Estonia continues to support Turkey's ongoing bid for full EU membership, dpa reported.
The two presidents also discussed the situation in Georgia, energy security and developments in their respective countries' information technology sectors.
"The relations between Estonia and Turkey are very good and our friendly mutual contacts in the fields of economy, politics and culture are continuously consolidating," Ilves said.
On Georgia, Ilves continued his staunch support for the country in the wake of its conflict with Russia and was critical of Russian actions.
"Russia's invasion and unconstructive behaviour signifies a change in the security architecture, since values, which are the foundation of the democratic world and NATO, were attacked," he said.
For his part, President Gul explained a Turkish initiative to develop a stability pact for the South Caucasus, that would include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Russia.
President Gul also announced that he would send a Turkish expert to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre located in Tallinn.
Speaking about energy security in the Turkish context, President Ilves stated that projects to help increase energy supply security, including the diversification of transport channels, are very important.
"From a European Union point of view, we consider one of the most important projects to be the Nabucco Gas Pipeline project planned from Turkey to Austria, which would enable the export of gas from the Near East and the Caspian region to Europe," he said.
A busy itinerary for the Turkish president on Friday sees him also meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, speaker of the Estonian parliament Ene Ergma and visiting the Bank of Estonia before he returns home.