The not-so-public friends: Erdogan 'really, really wants' Israeli Leviathan gas
"Bloomberg" reports that Israel and Turkey may resume diplomatic ties, after the long breakdown since the Mavi Marmara affair during the Gaza flotilla. "Bloomberg" quotes Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying that the two countries "are closer than ever to normalizing ties." Top Israeli officials are keeping quiet, with both the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declining to comment on the remarks made in Ankara.
"Bloomberg" says that the Turks are seeking normalization in ties with Israel as quickly as possible for two reasons: the domestic problems of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkey's wish to obtain Israeli natural gas via pipeline from the Leviathan gas field.
“Erdogan really, really wants that gas, and could spin an agreement as Israel basically conceding to Turkey,” said Alon Liel, a former director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He adds that Erdogan wants Israel to export natural gas to Europe via a pipeline routed through Turkey.
Despite the chilly relations between the Israeli and Turkish governments and the halt in defense deals, Israeli export of goods to Turkey rose to $4.9 billion in 2013 from $3.5 billion in 2012.
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