‘Feasibility’ needed for Israeli energy projects

‘Feasibility’ needed for Israeli energy projects

‘Feasibility’ needed for Israeli energy projects

Israeli President Peres (L) shakes hands with US Secretary of State Kerry (R) as PM Netanyahu sits in between them during a ceremony in Jerusalem. REUTERS photo

Turkey will not get into new projects with Israel before the “political feasibility” of bilateral relations is established, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday, in a press conference during a World Economic Forum conference in the Azerbaijani capital.

Answering a question on the Israeli desire to transport its natural gas extracted from the Mediterranean Sea via Turkey to Europen Markets, Yıldız said it may be possible in future, “but not before the completion of the apology requirements of Turkey.”

‘Proceedings have to be completed’

“The improvement of political relations may well result in new projects, including energy projects with Israel. But first the apology proceedings have to be completed,” Yıldız said. He said Turkey was not going to “exploit” the fact that Israel saw Turkey as a route, and the most viable option to sell its gas to world markets. “We would not even discuss it before the apology,” the Minister added, “Now we wait for the apology requirements.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had expressed his apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 22, mediated by U.S. President Barack Obama during his Middle East trip, over the killing of nine Turks by Israeli soldiers in 2010, on their way to carry humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory of Gaza, under an Israeli blockade. Erdoğan accepted the apology, saying that he was going to pursue the outcomes it. A commission of high-level diplomats is expected to meet in Turkey on April 11-12 in order to discuss the amount of compensation to be paid by Israel to the families of those killed on board the Mavi Marmara, the ship carrying the aid. The next step for the two countries is expected to be the upgrading of their diplomatic relations and the appointment of ambassadors to each other’s territories, once again.

Following the discovery of rich gas fields off the Israeli coast, there have been attempts from the Israeli side to explore the chances of cooperation on the transportation of gas to the Turkish Mediterranean terminal of Ceyhan, all of which were turned down on the basis of the previously unmet requirement of an apology.

Kerry in Israel for Mideast talks

JERUSALEM – Agence France-Presse

Top U.S. diplomat John Kerry was in Jerusalem yesterday for talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and then Israeli President Shimon Peres on his second trip to the region in two weeks.

After touching down in Israel on April 7, he headed straight to Ramallah where he held talks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in what a top State Department official said was “a constructive meeting.”

Yesterday morning, he joined top Israeli officials at a ceremony marking Holocaust Memorial Day and was expected to hold talks with Fayyad at the U.S. consulate in west Jerusalem. “I believe if we can address the security needs of Israel, and they are real, and if we can the state aspirations of Palestinian people, and they are real, I believe that if we can get on a track where people are working in good faith to address the bottom line concerns, it is possible to be able to make progress and to make peace,” Kerry said before the meeting.