BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 1 (UPI) -- Ankara backs the Nabucco gas pipeline for Europe, though the government hasn't connected that project to gas talks with Baku, officials said.
Europe aims to diversify its energy sector through the Nabucco gas pipeline. The project would transport non-Russian gas along a route through Turkey and southern Europe.
European energy security was upended in 2009 when Russian energy giant Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine because of a dispute over debts and contracts. That row left Europe in the cold for weeks as 80 percent of its Russian gas passes through Soviet-era pipelines in Ukraine.
Nabucco enjoys widespread political support, though supplier nations are slow to make firm commitments to the project. Developers eye gas from Azerbaijan, though Turkish ties with Baku overshadow some of the optimism.
Hulusi Kilic, the Turkish envoy to Baku, said in an interview with the Azeri Press Agency that it was important not to "confuse commercial issues with the political issues."
Both sides have shifted on their energy relationship tied to pricing agreements for gas from the giant offshore Shah Deniz project.
Kilic noted there was no agreement on the price for gas from Shah Deniz but stressed there were no links between those talks and Nabucco.
"Turkey supports Nabucco," he said. "But there is no official connection between Turkey-Azerbaijan natural gas discussions and Nabucco, the sides are not discussing the issues related to Nabucco project."