Turkey and Israel discuss potential gas pipeline connection

The possibility of building a natural gas pipeline between Turkey and Israel has been discussed, Israel’s energy minister said on Thursday.

Speaking after the first Israeli ministerial visit to Turkey since relations foundered in 2010, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told reporters that at a meeting in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak, he had agreed to “immediately establish a dialogue between our two governments” to examine the project’s feasibility.

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 said, Reuters reported.

There are other options, but the Turkey option is a strong one,” he noted, adding that both counties have decided to create dialogue both on governmental and ministerial levels about this issue.

In June, Israel and Turkey signed an agreement to restore ties, which were seriously damaged after the 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a an aid ship bound for Gaza that killed ten Turks.

Israel paid Turkey $20 million in compensation for the lethal attack, an amount that Turkish authorities say has been transferred to the account of the Justice Ministry, which is to be handed on to 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.

The blockade remains in place but Israel has allowed Turkish aid to reach Gaza through Israeli ports under the agreement.

Turkey and Israel are now on track to restore full diplomatic relations, including the exchange of ambassadors who were withdrawn from the respective capitals after the crisis.

Steinitz’s visit marks the first visit at ministerial level between the two countries in six years.


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