Israel and Turkey in talks over gas line

While Israel and Turkey are in talks over a proposed gas line, several hurdles must first be overcome. 

Against the backdrop of a restoration in bilateral ties, Israel and Turkey are now engaged in efforts to implement an agreement over the exportation of Israeli natural gas to Turkey.

Several apparent hurdles must first be overcome, one of which is the need for an indefinite protection of the rights of all contracting parties in the agreement. The concern revolves around the possibility of tensions stirring up once again between the two countries, in light of very recent fractious bilateral relations.

“For banks to eventually finance such a project they will have to know that no matter what happens between the countries politically, the business side will be protected,” Israeli Energy Ministry Director-General Shaul Meridor explained in an interview with Bloomberg News.

Another point of concern regards the ongoing dispute over the continued Turkish occupation over the northeastern portion of Cypriot island. Essentially, Israel would also need a guarantee that the pipeline, which would pass the island’s territorial waters, will not be affected by the outcome of final status talks over the Turkish-controlled region of Cyprus.

“We have a plan for every scenario,” Meridor noted. “We’re talking with the Cypriots and of course with the Turks about it. I’m pretty sure we’ll find a way for the pipeline to go through Cypriot economic waters to Turkey.”

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Should Israel and Turkey be able to overcome such hurdles, natural gas could start flowing from Israel to Turkey as soon as 2019.

Turkey would not be the first Muslim country in the region to reach an agreement with Israel over its natural gas supply off the Mediterranean coast. This past September, Israel’s Leviathan partners reached an agreement worth $10 billion with Jordan to export natural gas to the kingdom from the Mediterranean’s Levantine basin.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News