Turkey nixes energy partnerships with Israel
search

Turkey nixes energy partnerships with Israel

Minister Taner Yildiz says the two countries can only work together when Gaza Strip troubles are resolved

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Gas rigs in the Tamar field, off the coast of Israel, in June 2014. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Gas rigs in the Tamar field, off the coast of Israel, in June 2014. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Turkey will not work with Israel on energy projects until the situation in the Gaza Strip has been resolved, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Tuesday.

Yildiz spokes to reporters before attending the “Mediterranean Energy Perspectives – Turkey Report” in Ankara.

“For energy projects to proceed, the human tragedy in Gaza will have to be stopped and Israel will have to instate a permanent peace there with all elements,” Yildiz said, according to a report from Reuters.

“It is out of question to proceed on any energy project unless a permanent peace is established, with contribution from all sides and with necessary conditions,” he continued. “A human tragedy unfolded (in Gaza), it is all too easily forgotten.”

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. (screen capture:YouTube/Cihan Haber Ajansi)
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. (screen capture:YouTube/Cihan Haber Ajansi)

The recent discovery of two large gas fields in the Mediterranean has transformed Israel into an energy exporter, and the country has been looking for regional partners to purchase the resource.

Last week Israel signed a deal to supply Jordan with $15 billion worth of natural gas from its Leviathan energy field over 15 years.

Despite reports of a rapprochement over the spring, ties between Israel and Turkey chilled again over the summer as Jerusalem waged a 50-day military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A watchdog report released last week, though, showed Ankara was still selling jet fuel to Israel, a charge Yildiz vehemently denied,  according to Turkish Radio and Television.

“Turkey is a country grounded in law,” he said. “I have said many times that Turkey has not exported jet fuel to Israel. All calculations are out in the open, we do not hide anything. There has not been any exportation.”

“These allegations are speculation carried out by ill-minded people. If they spent as much time searching for local energy resources as they do on speculations, they would be more productive citizens for their country.”

Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Agency said on September 3 that some 1,500 tons of jet fuel was sold to Israel in June alone.

Ties between Israel and Turkey, already chilly, became further frayed during the recent conflict in Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time, accused Israel of “genocide in Gaza and “barbarism that surpasses Hitler.”

read more:
less
comments
more