Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey and Israel are to start examining the feasibility of building an undersea gas pipeline to pump Israeli gas to Turkish consumers and on to Europe, the Israeli energy minister said on Thursday.
“What we decided is to establish immediately a dialogue between our two governments… in order to examine the possibility and the feasibility of such a project,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said after talks with Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak in Istanbul.
The talks were the first such ministerial meeting since the two countries normalised ties in June after the 2010 crisis triggered by Israel’s deadly storming of a Gaza-bound aid ship.
Steinitz said the suggested project “would enable us to bring natural gas from Israeli economic waters to Turkey and through Turkey to Europe.”
He said that while Israel was also building regional energy cooperation links with Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece “the Turkish option is very important”.
He added that Israel “will also be glad to see Turkish companies involved in Israeli energy sector” including in the exploration of gas fields.
Steinitz described his visit as “a token of the normalisation process that just started between our two states.”
The talks on the proposed Israel-Turkey pipeline come just three days after Russia and Turkey signed an agreement on the construction of the TurkStream pipeline to pump Russian gas to Turkey and Europe.