Tamar natural gas rig 370.
(photo credit: Albatross)
One byproduct of Israel’s apology to Turkey for operational errors that may have
caused loss of life on the Mavi Marmara could be cooperation in the energy
field, Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Tuesday.
acknowledge that it is a political issue,” Yildiz was quoted by Today’s Zaman as
saying in reference to the apology at an energy conference in Ankara, amid a
slight decrease in public Turkish gloating over the issue.
for the apology is not [common] energy projects, but the result of it can be
energy projects,” he said.
“Within the process of normalization, after
Israel has fulfilled its responsibilities towards our side, the project of
transporting Israeli gas via Turkey could come onto the agenda.”
Israel has not yet decided whether or how much of its natural gas reserves that
just began flowing on Saturday should be exported – or whether the preferred
market is to Europe via Cyprus or Turkey, or the Far East via Eilat – there was
considerable talk during the height of the Turkish-Israeli diplomatic tension of
an Israel-Cyprus- Greece energy corridor that would bypass Turkey.
now, with Cyprus’s financial woes coupled with the beginning of a Jerusalem-
Ankara rapprochement, the idea of a pipeline to Turkey is once again gaining
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc saying that an Israeli delegation
would travel to Turkey on April 11 for compensation talks. He and Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu are scheduled to meet with the families of the nine
Turks killed on the ship that tried to break the naval blockade of Gaza in May,
Speaking on a television program, Arinc said Israel would like to
pay the compensation immediately, and “we would like to solve the issue as soon
When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu phoned Turkish Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 10 days ago, with US President Barack Obama in the
room, the two agreed – after Netanyahu apologized for operational errors that
might have led to the loss of life – to a normalization of ties, including an
exchange of ambassadors, and an end to Turkish legal proceedings against IDF
Netanyahu also agreed to “complete an agreement on
Diplomatic officials said that the National
Security Council and the Justice Ministry, not the Foreign Ministry, will be
conducting the talks on the Israeli side.
Israeli and Turkish officials
have held on-and-off discussions about compensation payments over the last two
years as part of efforts to find a way out of the crisis.
Arinc seemed to
be preparing the Turkish public for a situation whereby once a compensation
package is agreed upon, it ends future claims.
“When a state pays
compensation to another state, ongoing lawsuits should end by individual
plaintiffs’ withdrawal,” Arinc said.
According to the Anadolu Agency,
Arinc characterized the apology as “a magnificent success of Turkish foreign
policy” and said it means Israel “accepts and admits its unjust act.”