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Israel and Turkey resume pipeline talks

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World Pipelines,

At the first Israeli ministerial visit to Turkey since a breakdown six years ago, on 13 October, Israel and Turkey agreed to deepen their energy co-operation. This is one step that is being taken to work towards normalising ties between the countries after relations crumbled due to Israeli marines storming an aid ship in May 2010. Israel’s 2010 act was done to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. It killed 10 Turkish activists who were on board.

Israel’s Energy Minister, Yuval Steinitz, said that he would welcome an increased involvement of Turkish firms in Israel’s energy sector, particularly in gas exploration. He told reporters that he agreed at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Berat Albayrak, to “immediately establish a dialogue between our two governments” regarding the above and the possibility of constructing a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey.

According to Reuters: “We discussed energy in general and, particularly, the issue of natural gas and the possibility of building a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey in order to deliver natural gas to Turkey and to Europe,” Steinitz stated.

"I was a great proponent of the normalisation of ties between Israel and Turkey and the meeting today is the beginning," Steinitz added. "The economic result should be to the benefit of people of Turkey and Israel."

At stake are under-sea natural gas reserves worth hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to exploit these, Israel is most likely required to have the co-operation of Turkey. Steinitz stated that Israel had so far discovered approximately 900 billion m3 of natural gas. However, next month Israeli water will be opened up for exploration. Scientists estimate an additional 2200 billion m3 could be found.


"This is a lot of gas, much more than we can consume," he said. "Exporting gas to our neighbours in the region or to Europe through different pipelines, this is of course very important and of course one of the important options is connecting to Europe through a pipeline to Turkey."

Subsequent to the Israeli raid, the two countries signed a deal in June to restore ties. Israel paid Turkey US$20 million in compensation for the deadly event, an amount that Turkish authorities say will due to be passed onto families of the victims who lodged cases at Turkish courts.

Israel also made a formal apology for the raid and agreed to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip. While the blockade remains in place, Israel has allowed Turkish aid to reach Gaza through Israeli ports under the deal that was agreed to in June.

Speaking in Ankara, Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said that the two countries would exchange ambassadors – as previously agreed in June – within the next 10 days.

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