Turkey agreement with Israel may be next step in Erdoğan’s plan for Med
After years of feuding with Israel over the Palestinian issue, the Turkish government could look to mend ties with Israel to boost its claim to gas-rich waters in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish columnist Burak Bekdil wrote for international Jewish news site, the Algemeiner.
Until it signed a maritime borders deal with the U.N.-recognised Libyan government last November, Turkey had been left isolated against a block of regional countries including Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Egypt that signed deals demarcating areas of the eastern Mediterranean believed to hold vast hydrocarbon reserves.
Now it could seek a similar deal with Israel, according to the chief of staff of the Turkish Navy, Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı, who masterminded the Libyan deal.
Israel has signed deals with the government of Cyprus, which Turkey does not formally recognise, and other regional states, but Turkey is acting as a spoiler for plans by Greece, Cyprus and Israel to build a pipeline that could carry gas under the Mediterranean to Europe.
But a deal with Turkey would carry Israeli gas to Europe far more cheaply, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he would be willing to work with any regional state except Cyprus.
This potentially leaves the door open for a deal with Israel, though the bad blood between the countries, which have not exchanged ambassadors since expelling each other’s envoys in 2017, would make that difficult, Bekdil said.
Erdoğan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party have been firm backers of the Palestinian movement, including supporting Hamas, the militant Islamist group governing the Gaza Strip that Israel views as a terrorist organisation.