Turkey considers Israel's gas line offer

Feb. 15, 2013 at 3:44 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- An Israeli bid to build a natural gas pipeline to Turkey, despite political tension between the countries, is under discussion, a Turkish official said.

The $2 billion underwater natural gas pipeline from Israel's Leviathan field to the south coast of Turkey, allowing Israel a better opportunity to deliver gas to Europe, is under discussion but runs counter to Turkish policy regarding Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

The Turkish newspaper Vatan said Thursday Israeli Undersecretary Harel Locker and representatives of the Israeli energy corporation Dalek, met with the Turkish Energy Ministry to present the offer.

The Turkish government has not provided a response to the offer because of the tensions, an unnamed Turkish energy official said.

The relationship between Israel and Turkey has been frosty since Israel's May 2010 boarding of a Turkish ship trying to break the Gaza blockade. Eight Turkish citizens and a U.S. citizen of Turkish origin were killed. The prime minister of Turkey walked out of last month's Davos Economic Forum in protest of the presence of the Israeli president, and the chill has continued with Turkey demanding an apology and compensation for the attack, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News said Friday.

Dalek recently signed an agreement with Cyrus to explore offshore energy, raising suspicions from Turkey, the newspaper Vatan said.

Israel has allowed Turkey to deliver material to Gaza to build a hospital, which Hurriyet noted relates to Israel's lifting of sanctions against Gaza, a condition Turkey presented to Israel for overcoming tensions.

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