Interviewee:    I mean, that’s the normal thing to do.  But there are huge numbers of interest – economic interest between the two are very, very close and getting closer, interest of energy.  Later this month, we will see the Nabucco pipeline deal signed.  Turkey will become an important transit country in terms of the EU having energy supplies not directly from Russia.  If Iraq and Iran come online with gas, Turkey will be even more important.

Interviewer:    Uh-hmm.

Interviewee:    So there are all sorts of issues where they can work together and create something that more naturally could lead to membership.

Interviewer:    That impacts the Russian-Ukraine gas deal?

Interviewee:    Yes.

Interviewer:    Russia won’t be pleased then if that happens.

Interviewee:    No, they won’t be.  [Laughing]  But Europe is determined to have more sources, more diverse sources.  And they in fact, after Russia turned off the gas on Ukraine the most recent time, the Europeans commission decided to put major financing behind the Nabucco pipeline.  Then, there was an issue with the Turkey in terms of the amount of Turkey would charge to be a transit country, but that’s now been resolved.
Interviewer:    Right.  So how do you see this process evolved and seeing the next?  I know that it will be several years, but public opinion will go up and down.  Is it going the right direction as far as Turkey is concerned?

Interviewee:    I think right now it is not, and this is the problem.  We are in fact, let me put it this way, we are still waiting for the relationship to hit bottom.  This coming fall and winter will be the test.  Can we get passed this deadline on Turkey opening its ports under the Ankara Protocol?

Interviewer:    Uh-hmm.