Sending Israeli gas through Turkey unlikely to improve bilateral relations, expert says

BESA director to ‘Post’: Turks need to diversify energy sources from Iran and Russia

September 3, 2015 18:52
1 minute read.

Israel Navy missile ship patrols near gas field‏. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The belief that sending Israeli gas through Turkey will lead Ankara to decide to improve relations with Jerusalem “is not grounded in facts,” an Israeli expert on Turkey told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, responding to a report in an Istanbul-based paper saying that Turkey is the best route for Israeli gas to Europe, said, “Turkish-Israeli trade is currently blooming despite Turkish hostility toward the Jewish state.”

The article by Ebru Sengul appeared in the Daily Sabah pro-government newspaper.

Israel regards other alternatives, such as going through Cyprus, as too costly and hence, piping it through Turkey “would be advantageous,” Sengul wrote.

Energy companies view a pipeline passing through Turkey as the cheapest and best option to transfer Israeli gas, said Sengul.

Inbar pointed out that “while there is some merit to the argument that a pipeline via Cyprus to Turkey makes economic sense, energy is not only about money, but is a strategic commodity.

“The Turkish argument is self-serving, because they need to diversify their energy sources [away] from Iran and Russia and want to solidify Turkey’s role as an energy bridge to Europe.

“Why should Israel strengthen Turkey’s international position?” Inbar asked.

Sengul also said, “Following an Israeli confrontation with the Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound Turkish humanitarian flotilla, in 2010, Israel turned away from Turkey and toward Greece and Cyprus, whereupon Israeli officials said trilateral relations among them reached a peak.

“However, Israel is worried about realizing the project without first achieving normalization. Israeli authorities said they have a lot to lose, and they have to wait for now,” the article continued.

The article comes amid a flurry of recent reports that relations between Turkey and Israel could improve despite major remaining obstacles, including the ruling AK Party’s Islamist ideology and support for groups such as Hamas.

Foreign Ministry director- general Dore Gold told the Post last week he is “hopeful that in the not-too-distant future Israel and Turkey will find a way to reestablish their relationship.”

Gold, who held secret talks in Rome in June with his Turkish counterpart, Feridun Sinirlioglu, said that regional developments and challenges are compelling Ankara to make some changes of its own.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the Hungarian Foreign Minister at the dedication ceremony of
March 19, 2019
Hungary opens ‘first European diplomatic mission in Jerusalem in decades’