During a joint press conference in West Jerusalem on 26 May, with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Turkey would be the only outlet for Israeli gas, if Israel decides to export it to Europe.
Cavusoglu also noted that Ankara does not intend to cease the purchase of natural gas from Russia.
According to a report in the Turkish newspaper, Al-Sabah, Cavusoglu said that “the energy issue will be discussed between the Turkish and Israeli energy ministers,” and that “if Israel reaches gas volumes that will enable it to export gas to Europe, Turkey will be the only economic way to implement this.”
The Turkish official said that the trade volume between Turkey and Israel had exceeded $8 billion last year, and that the figures for the first quarter of this year were promising.
Local media reports indicate, however, that the reason for this rapprochement is Erdogan’s desire to strengthen his country’s weakened economy, especially in relation to joint gas projects.
According to these reports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said he was open to mending strained relations between Turkey and Israel in the wake of reduced US support for a controversial gas pipeline in the Mediterranean.
The project for the pipeline was supported by former US president Donald Trump, before Joe Biden administration revealed his lack of enthusiasm for the project.
During a press conference, Erdogan said he was reviving talks with Israel over the old idea of bringing Mediterranean gas to European customers via Turkey.
“As Turkey, we will do our best to cooperate on the basis of win-win,” Erdogan said. “As politicians, we should not be here to fight but to live in peace.”
Earlier this month, the Turkish President emphasized the importance of Russian gas to the Turkish economy, and said that his country “cannot give up natural gas supplies from Russia, as it is a strategic issue.”
Turkey is one of the most prominent markets for Russian gas, as it ranks third in the list of major importers of Russian gas, according to Gazprom data. The data showed that Turkey imported about 16.4 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2020.
Cavusoglu’s diplomatic meetings in Israel followed his visit to Palestine on Tuesday, where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
In March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited the Turkish capital Ankara and met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.