Detente in energy sector

ANKARA (AP) – Closer economic cooperation between Turkey and Greece can further strengthen improving ties between them, the Greek and Turkish economy ministers said yesterday. The two countries, together with Italy, can work together to build regional transport and energy infrastructure, Nikos Christodoulakis and Kemal Dervis told a joint press conference. Earlier this year, Greece and Turkey signed a $300 million deal to extend an Iranian natural gas pipeline from Turkey into Greece, an agreement that could take Iranian gas to other European countries. The pipeline, due to be completed by 2005, could be extended to Italy, with financial assistance from the EU. Cooperation between Greece, Turkey and Italy in the energy sector «will help us enter the European market… both as buyers and sellers,» Dervis said. «I think this will bring increased efficiency of energy use in both our countries… When the neighborhood is good, it benefits everyone who lives there.» The European Investment Bank could help fund joint energy and transport projects, Christodoulakis said.