Israel and Turkey Explore Energy Ties

From The Wall Street Journal

By Joshua Mitnick

Israel’s apology to Turkey over a deadly 2010 raid will boost cooperation over Syria’s civil war, but it also has a compelling economic incentive: the possible export of billions of dollars of Israeli natural gas to Turkey and beyond, say analysts and officials.

Quiet contacts between Israel and Turkey over gas cooperation have been going on in recent months, but both sides knew nothing could progress before the dispute over the raid was resolved, said Alon Liel, a former Israeli envoy to Turkey with knowledge of the talks.

“Even before the reconciliation, there were talks about the export of gas through Turkey. Now that there is reconciliation, this is possible,” he said. “Cyprus is collapsing economically, and Israel understood it could not realize its plans for export through Cyprus.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday for the bungled 2010 raid by Israeli naval commandos on the Mavi Marmara ship as it tried to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza to deliver aid. Eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American were killed.

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