Report: Turkey forbids completion of gas deal with Israel until peace with Gaza achieved

Natural gas export from Israel’s Leviathan reservoir to Turkey will remain impossible as long as the Israel-Gaza conflict persists, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said on Monday.

Only after a permanent cease-fire has been declared and stability returns to the region could the minister even consider discussing the matter, reported Turkey’s English newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News.

Calling for “an end to the cruelty in Palestine,” Yıldız said that his country’s “door will be closed,” until calm has been attained, the newspaper added.

“If we build a natural gas pipeline from Israel or the eastern Mediterranean under these circumstances, the blood of innocent infants and mothers, not natural gas, would flow through it,” Yıldız said, according to the Hurriyet report.

Yıldız is a member of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, of which Prime Minister Recep Erdogan serves as chairman.

The 621-billion cubic meter Leviathan gas reservoir, located about 130 km. west of Haifa, is expected to begin flowing in 2017. Leviathan’s smaller, neighbor to its east, Tamar, began generating gas for the Israeli domestic market in March 2013.

While the Israeli government approved an export policy in June 2013, capping exports to 40 percent, the question still remains to whom the reservoir’s developers will be selling the gas – aside from small agreements with Jordanian Dead Sea factories and a future Palestinian power plant.

Both Cyprus and Turkey, the latter of which does not recognize the former’s sovereignty over the entire Cypriot island, have courted Israel – Cyprus through liquefied natural gas (LNG) export options and Turkey through a pipeline.

Meanwhile, the Leviathan developers have also signed letters of intent to potentially make use of abandoned LNG facilities in Egypt.

In response to Yıldız’s announcement, Turkish opposition party member Dr. Aykan Erdemir told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that a Turkish-Israeli pipeline “can only result from constructive thinking and win-win mentality on both ends of the project.”  Continue reading at…

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