In an effort to boost its gas exports, the Jewish state is reportedly re-examining the viability of a potential gas pipeline via Turkey to Europe.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked an inter-ministerial team to assess the possibility of building an underwater pipeline below the Mediterranean Sea from Israel's large Leviathan offshore natural gas field to Turkey. If realized, such a pipeline would be able to transport gas to Europe, helping the continent to reduce its dependence on Russian energy amid the war in Ukraine.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously expressed interest in cooperating on the transport of Israeli gas via Turkey to the European market.
The Jewish state has also considered pursuing gas line cooperation with Greece, Cyprus and Italy. However, in April 2022, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland described the EastMed pipeline project as “too expensive, not viable.”
In addition, there were speculations that the U.S. Biden administration opposed the Israel-Greek-Cypriot gas project because it excluded Turkey, a country with a history of tensions with Greece and other neighbors.
However, with improved Turkish-Israeli diplomatic ties, the possibility of gas cooperation between the two countries is becoming more plausible. In July, Netanyahu postponed a trip to Turkey for health reasons but is expected to meet with Erdoğan in the coming weeks.
During an interview in February 2022, Turkey expert Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak told ALL ISRAEL NEWS he believes Ankara could potentially convince Israel to abandon the EastMed alliance and reach an alternative mutually beneficial gas agreement with Turkey.
“Maybe with a counter-offer they can persuade the Israeli government to leave the EastMed alliance and form a different energy deal with Turkey,” Yanarocak said at the time.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.