East Med gas feasible only through Turkey: Erdoğan
The East Med pipeline project that aimed to bring natural gas from Israel directly to Europe cannot be materialized without Turkey, and the United States ditched the project because it is not feasible under these circumstances, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 17.
“This is not a project that will be actualized. They [the U.S.] made all the analyzes of this, they saw that there is nothing positive about this business,” Erdoğan told journalists onboard a plane during his return from Albania.
The U.S. withdrew from the project because it would have been very costly, he stated.
“This business cannot be done without Turkey. Because if it will be transferred to Europe from here, it will only happen through Turkey,” Erdoğan stated.
Turkey is eager to resume talks for bringing Israeli gas to Europe, he said.
The president recalled that Israel earlier proposed to realize the project with Turkey in discussions with former Energy Minister Berat Albayrak.
“The work was going somewhere. Maybe then we could conclude it up with Israel. So, is there no hope of finalizing now? The terms can be discussed. Because the interest analysis of this business is very important,” the president said.
Reminding that he has a dialogue with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and they had now reached a level of progress, Erdoğan added, “Israeli Prime Minister [Naftali] Bennett sends messages at different levels.”
He recalled a meeting with the members of the Rabbinical Alliance of Islamic Countries, and said, “If we are making politics, this cannot be with fight or quarrel. We have to maintain politics in line of peace.”
Turkey’s approach in the Eastern Mediterranean is “well known” after making a maritime agreement with Libya, Erdoğan said, noting that Ankara continues its activities in the area based on this deal.
“We bought four drill ships and two seismic survey ships. Did we get these for nothing? These will work in the Black Sea and will work in the Mediterranean. We will have the strongest infrastructure in this regard,” he stated.
Asked about increasing tension between Russia and Ukraine, and the possibility of Turkey’s mediation role on the issue and position of Ankara in the case of Russian occupation into Ukrainian lands, Erdoğan said the occupation scenario was not realistic.
“I do not see the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a realistic approach. Because Ukraine is not an ordinary country. Ukraine is a powerful country. In addition, in order for Russia to take this step, it needs to review the situation in the whole world and its own situation,” Erdoğan stated.
The president said he would hold talks with his Russian and Azerbaijani counterparts on the issue. “Because these regions can no longer accept war. Now we have to erase the war from the history of politics,” he said.
Recalling Russian intervention in Crimea, Erdoğan reminded Turkey has been objecting to this move and its position would be the same for any similar scenarios.
“So, our policy is clear in this regard,” he said.
Asked about the possible amendment in the election law, Erdoğan said his part’s discussion with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) continues.
“Our approach is for the threshold to be 7 percent. Other than that, we do not go into the narrow region, narrowed region and such things. Our friends will meet again this week or next week about the draft text that has been prepared,” he said.