Israel offers to lay a gas pipeline to Turkey

Israel offers to lay a gas pipeline to Turkey

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Israel offers to lay a gas pipeline to Turkey

Israel has placed an offer to build a pipeline to southern Turkey, but Turkey is not positive about that due to political strains, a Turkish official says. REUTERS photo

Israel has offered to lay an undersea natural gas pipeline to Turkey’s south coast in order to sell energy to Europe, but the Turkish government is yet to give an answer due to the political tension between two parties, a Turkish energy ministry official has told the Hurriyet Daily News.

“Israel has made a bid to build a pipeline to Turkey within last two weeks,” the official said. “But we have a policy regarding Israel and the claims that Turkey leans towards this idea is not true.”

Referring to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronot, Turkish daily Vatan claimed yesterday that Israeli Prime Ministry Undersecretary Harel Locker and Israeli energy giant the Delek group - who also signed an agreement with Greek Cyprus to explore off-shore energy, arousing reactions from Turkey - had conducted two meetings with the Turkish Energy Ministry to present the pipeline offer.

The newspaper also said that the project would cost $2 billion, most of which will be financed by the Ankara government, which views the project positively.

However, the ministry official denied the claims of the newspaper by saying that Turkey’s current policy on Israel relations would hamper any possible agreement with the country.

On the same day, another Israeli daily newspaper made another claim about the issue, saying that the Turkish conglomerate Zorlu Group planned to lay an undersea pipeline from the Leviathan field, the biggest in Israel.
The relationship between Turkey and Israel hit a historic low after Israel’s deadly May 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla aid ship that killed eight Turkish citizens and one U.S. citizen of Turkish origin.

The attack was the climax of a two-year-long saga of rising tensions between Turkey and Israel, during which the former’s prime minister walked out of the Davos Economic Forum in protest at the latter’s president. The chill in ties has continued due to Turkish demands for an official apology from Israel for the Mavi Marmara attack and compensation for the raid’s victims.

Recently, Israel has authorized the passage of Turkish trucks through Gaza carrying materials for the construction of the Turkish-Palestine Friendship Hospital. Lifting the siege on Gaza constitutes Turkey’s third condition to Israel for the normalizing of relations.