The dispute between Turkey and Israel could be normalized again with mutually beneficial gas pipeline project, said Batu Aksoy, CEO of the Turkish energy company Turcas on Wednesday.
Aksoy said that cooperation towards a common goal may help the normalization of both countries. He cited the construction of a natural gas pipeline through the Mediterranean sea to allow the transfer of gas to Europe via Turkey which would open up markets both for Turkey and Israel.
He told the Anadolu Agency in an interview that the prospective 500 kilometer-long natural gas project is a huge opportunity for the country's aims to diversify its energy resources.
Tensions between Turkey and Israel escalated after an incident in 2009 at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, when Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister at that time, stormed out of a panel discussion after angry comments were exchanged over Gaza with Israeli former President Shimon Perez.
In 2010, Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin in a raid on the Mavi Marmara sea vessel. The ship was part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” led and established by the Turkish aid agency IHH. The convoy was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip which was under Israeli blockade at the time.
Israel discovered the Leviathan natural gas field six years ago near Haifa off the coast of Israel, with the discovery of resources of almost 600 billion cubic meters. The field is due to start operating in 2016 or 2017 and the proposed pipeline through Turkey would allow access to European markets for the Israeli gas.
Reporting by Zeynep Duyar
Writing by Gokhan Yildiz