Israel’s gas pipeline to Europe in doubt, Turkish mediation needed - analyst

Israel, Greece and Cyprus must be wary of Turkey’s moves to block a proposed pipeline to carry east Mediterranean gas to Europe, which may never be completed without international mediation with Ankara, analyst Gabriel Mitchell told the Jerusalem Post.

The three countries inked the deal for the 1,900-km (1,180-mile) pipeline project in Athens on Thursday, but Ankara could act as a spoiler in an otherwise win-win situation, the Jerusalem Post said on Friday. 

In an effort to block the pipeline project, Ankara struck an accord in November with the U.N.-recognised Libyan government. The deal sees the countries as maritime neighbours, divides the eastern Mediterranean into two and ignores the territorial waters of some Greek islands.

To realise their shared goals, Israel, Greece and Cyprus “must pay attention to the elephant in the room: Turkey,” said Mitchell, a policy fellow at The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies.

“Over the past decade, we saw again and again how tightening relations between [Israel, Greece and Cyprus] led Turkey to take steps to counter it,” he said. “That is expected to happen following the summit in Athens.”

Building a pipeline from Israel to Europe via Cyprus “will be a very difficult mission to accomplish without international mediation with Turkey,” Mitchell said.