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Israel, Turkey Discuss Energy After Years Of Diplomatic Silence

Erdogan Netanyahu

Israel and Turkey discussed building a gas pipeline between the two nations, according to the Israeli energy minister, who made the announcement during the country’s first ministerial visit to Turkey in six years.

The two countries’ ministers agreed to “establish immediately dialogue between our two governments” to determine the project’s feasibility, according to Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who stood next to his Turkish counterpart at the press conference.

Steinitz is Israel’s most senior official to visit Turkey since they agreed to renormalize ties this past June.

The talks included the possibility of constructing a natural gas pipeline, and Turkey providing electricity and other energy to Palestinians.

"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.

Diplomatic relations between the two nations quickly disintegrated under Erdogan’s rule after the 2008/2009 Gaza War and Israel’s 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, in which 10 Turkish activists were killed—an incident for which Israel has since apologized.

Both sides have been motivated to reach an understanding in recent months, as Israel searches for potential customers for its newfound energy reserves in the Dead Sea, and NATO-allied Turkey strives to regain regional power, according to Al-Jazeera.

Feridun Sinirlioglu, the undersecretary to the Turkish foreign ministry, and Israeli representative Joseph Ciechanover met in Rome to discuss the deal, according to the Turkish news source Hurriyet.

"The deal will see Israel apologize for the 2010 attack on an aid flotilla travelling to Gaza, in which 10 Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli commandoes, compensations for the victims' families and a minor easing of Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory," Al Jazeera reported.

The fund compensating for the deaths of the 10 Turkish activists will contain $20 million, the AFP reported.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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