Turkey and Israel have outlined contours of a long-delayed deal to repair their diplomatic ties after a five-year rift, paving the way for a bilateral agreement on Mediterranean gas pipeline, reported The Financial Times.
The draft agreement includes a plan to buy Israeli gas and opens talks on laying an undersea gas pipeline from Israel’s Leviathan offshore gas field to Turkey worth $3 in investment. A consortium of Turkish firms Turcas and Enerjisa has been in talks with Israel over the price of gas, possible route of a pipeline, and partnership structure. According to a Turkish industry source, there is a potential of around 30bcm of gas resources, of which Turkey could buy 8 to 10 bcm.
Ankara has ramped up efforts to reduce its dependence on Russia’s gas supplies, accounting for 50% of Turkey’s overall natural gas resources, by finding alternative routes. The decision was prompted by the recent dispute with Russia over its downed jet-fighter.
According to Reuters, one of the three conditions for the restoration of mutual relations with Israel, put forward by Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, is the lifting of the Gaza blockade. Although Israel is unlikely to oblige over alleged security concerns, some progress has been made, an unnamed senior Turkish official said.
Turkish-Israeli relations broke down in 2010 after Israeli naval commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara ship in a convoy seeking to break an Israeli naval blockade of the Palestinian territory in Gaza, killing ten Turkish activists on board.