Israel, Turkey Discuss Joint Gas Pipeline as Ties Resume After Six-Year Rupture

Belarus employees work at the Yamal-Europe gas transfer station near town of Nesvizh, some 130 kms west of Minsk, on January 9, 2009. Deliveries of Russian gas via Ukraine have been halted, but Poland is continuing to receive the bulk of its supplies via a pipeline running through Belarus. Germany …

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Israel and Turkey have discussed the possibility of building a natural gas pipeline between the two countries, Israel’s energy minister said on Thursday, in the first Israeli ministerial visit to Turkey since ties were ruptured six years ago.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz agreed at a meeting in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak to “establish immediately a dialogue between our two governments” to examine the project’s feasibility, he told reporters.

“We discussed energy in general and particularly the issue of natural gas and the possibility of building a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey in order to deliver natural gas to Turkey and to Europe,” Steinitz said.

Relations between the two countries crumbled after Israeli marines stormed an aid ship in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, killing 10 Turkish activists on board. Israel and Turkey announced in June that they would normalize ties.