European Commission: turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt highlights Turkey's importance for the Union
A senior official from the European Commission has said recent violent protests had shown once again that relations with Turkey were of crucial importance for the European Union, Anadolu News Agency reported.
"Recent incidents in the south of the Mediterranean showed the importance of developing stable relations with Turkey," Stefano Sannino, European Commission's deputy director-general for external affairs, told a Brussels panel discussion over Europe's energy security.
Sannino said the healthy continuation of Turkey's accession talks with the EU served both sides' interests, adding that Turkey and the Union should take a "pragmatic approach" instead of acting on ideological grounds.
"We do not believe that Turkey needs to make a choice between the West and the East. Turkey and the EU are mutually dependent on each other, which is a good thing" Sannino said.
Separately, Heinz Hilbrecht, European Commission's director for Security of Supply and Energy Markets, said Turkey played a "key role" in the southern energy corridor which includes the Nabucco pipeline project as well.
"Nabucco project is the only strategic solution to EU energy security and diversity of supply," Hilbrecht said.
Nabucco is a new gas bridge from Asia to Europe and the flagship project in the Southern Corridor. It will connect the world's richest gas regions - the Caspian region, Middle East and Egypt - to the European consumer markets.