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Turkey is interested in resuming talks with Israel about using Israeli natural gas and transporting it to Europe, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, as carried by the Daily Sabah news outlet.
“We can use Israeli natural gas in our country, and beyond using it, we can also engage in a joint effort on its passage to Europe,” Erdogan told reporters on a return flight from Kyiv, Ukraine.
Turkey and Israel have been in a tense bilateral relationship in recent years, after a fallout in 2018, when Turkey criticized Israel for its activities in the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians. Israel, for its part, has demanded that Turkey drop support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In 2018, Turkey and Israel expelled each other’s ambassadors, following clashes on the Gaza border in which Israeli forces killed Palestinians.
In 2020, Turkey’s Erdogan said he wanted better ties with Israel, although he noted at the time that Israel’s policy toward Palestinians remained “unacceptable.”
The two countries are now looking to mend relations and potentially cooperate in the energy sector.
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog will visit Turkey in the middle of next month, Erdogan said earlier this week.
During the upcoming visit of the Israeli president, energy cooperation will be one of the topics of discussion, Erdogan said today.
The United States has reportedly pulled its support for the planned EastMed natural gas pipeline from Israel to Europe—a plan which does not involve Turkey and is backed by Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, The Jerusalem Post reported last month.
Turkey has long opposed the EastMed pipeline project because it sidelines Ankara from energy plans in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In January, Erdogan said that the U.S. had withdrawn its support for the EastMed gas pipeline project because of its high costs and reiterated that the project “cannot work without Turkey.”
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com