Turkey to build gas pipeline for exporting Israeli gas to Europe

Turkey to build gas pipeline for exporting Israeli gas to Europe

ISTANBUL (APP) - Israel and Turkey on Thursday agreed to open discussions on building a gas pipeline to pump Israeli gas to Europe , as the Israeli energy minister made the first ministerial visit since a crisis in ties.

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Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz met his Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak in Istanbul, the highest level official meeting since the two countries normalised ties in June after a 2010 crisis triggered by Israel 's deadly storming of a Gaza-bound aid ship.

Until the 2010 crisis, NATO member Turkey had been Israel 's key ally in the Muslim world, and the process to normalise relations was strongly backed by the United States.

Hailing his visit as the start of economic benefits of normalisation, Steinitz said they agreed to start examining the feasibility of building an undersea gas pipeline to pump Israeli gas to Turkish consumers and on to Europe .

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"What we decided is to establish immediately a dialogue between our two governments... in order to examine the possibility and the feasibility of such a project," he said.

He said that while Israel was also building regional energy cooperation links with Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece "the Turkish option is very important".

He added that Israel "will also be glad to see Turkish companies involved in Israeli energy sector" including in the exploration of gas fields.

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A fluent English speaker, Albayrak is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 's son-in-law and seen as one of the rising stars of the Turkish government.

The Turkish energy ministry said in a statement meanwhile that the two ministers had agreed "to establish dialogue on exporting natural gas."

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