News / Middle East

Turkey Floats Gas Pipeline Plan With Israel

FILE - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Feb. 27, 2013.
FILE - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Feb. 27, 2013.
Dorian Jones
— As diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey thaw, Turkey's energy minister says that a pipeline project between the two countries could become possible.  Ankara is keen to make the country an energy hub for the region. But Turkey’s ruling party is having to balance sensitivities of families of the victims of a 2010 military operation by Israel on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

The Turkish energy minister, Taner Yildiz, says his country would be open to the construction of a pipeline to distribute Israel’s newly discovered gas.

The announcement follows Israel's apology to Turkey over the 2010 killing of nine Turks aboard an aid ship trying to break an Israeli economic embargo of the Gaza Strip.

Turkish international relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Kadir Has University says energy cooperation offers benefits for both countries.
 
"The issue may become an important topic that the two can cooperate on," said Ozel. "The Israelis have already made a suggestion to send some of their gas by pipelines to Turkey. And this fits well with Turkey’s grand desire to be the grill full of pipelines from north to south, from east to west, and therefore become on energy matters, if not a hub, certainly an indispensable transition place."

But the thorny question of compensation to Turkish flotilla victims remains.

The Israeli government has promised to compensate the families of those killed. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says both sides want a speedy resolution of the issue.
 
Arinc says the Israelis would like to pay the compensation immediately and would like to solve issue as soon as possible.

He says compensation would bring an end to on-going court cases in Turkey against the Israelis involved - a key demand of Israel.

Israeli and Turkish diplomats are due to meet in Ankara next week to discuss compensation.  A senior Turkish diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he hopes it will be resolved during the visit

But analyst Ozel says even if compensation is paid, the stalled Mideast peace process hangs as a detriment to bettering Turkish-Israeli relations.
 
"The fundamental thing is the Israelis have no interest of granting a Palestinian state worthy of its name," he said. "Turkey, like the rest of the world, wants a Palestinian state, a two state solution, a decent living for the Palestinians and to get it over with. This is a difference that can't be reconciled."
 
The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has linked Israel’s ending its economic embargo on Hamas-run Gaza to a full normalization of Israeli-Turkish relations.

Diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz, who writes for Turkey’s Taraf newspaper, says the government has to be sensitive to criticism from the Islamist wing of its party.

Still, Idiz believes the support of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan could change the tide.  

"They [the Islamist wing] don’t like it," said Idiz. "They want Israel sort of to be punished, Israel to disappear, and all that. I don’t think the government is going to take this lightly. The government has to manage this. But in the long run, the Islamic wing will grudgingly accept it for the sake of pragmatism."

Analysts say both countries have important mutual interests, along with energy.  They both have borders with Syria and oppose the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.  Also, both are allies of the United States, and Washington is strongly backing rapprochement efforts.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid