Israeli thaw good for Turkish energy

April 3, 2013 at 6:29 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, April 3 (UPI) -- An Israeli apology for the 2010 raid of a Turkish flotilla could lead to a strong energy relationship, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey in March for the 2010 deaths of nine Turkish nationals on a Gaza relief flotilla. Netanyahu said there were "operational mistakes" made during the incident.

Normally warm relations between Israel and Turkey were strained by the incident. Yildiz said the apology was more of a political move but that energy developments could come out of the thaw.

"After Israel has fulfilled its responsibilities toward our side, the project of transporting Israeli gas via Turkey could come onto the agenda," he was quoted by Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman as saying. "But it should also be kept in mind that the feasibility level of such projects is lowered if Turkey is bypassed. Both Israel and Turkey are aware of that."

Israel has significant quantities of natural gas offshore in the Leviathan and Tamar fields. Talks about a potential natural gas pipeline for Turkey stalled following the 2010 flotilla raid.

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