Bloomberg: Turkey suspends gas exploration activities with Israel


The move comes after President Erdoğan's endorsement of Hamas

Oct 26, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday openly expressed support for Hamas in the Palestine-Israel War and announced that sanctions would be imposed on Israel.

In response to this, Turkey and Israel's planned natural gas exploration activities and pipeline construction in the Eastern Mediterranean has been suspended, according to a report from Bloomberg.

According to the report, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, who was scheduled to visit Israel for bilateral talks on natural gas exploration activities and pipeline construction in the Eastern Mediterranean, has also canceled his program.

As of now, there has been no official denial of this news.

It was previously planned to transport Eastern Mediterranean gas to Europe through Turkey. In September, during his visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly meetings, President Erdoğan announced that Turkey and Israel would conduct joint energy drilling operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

 He also mentioned an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to build an energy transmission line to Europe. President Erdoğan stated, "Our total trade volume with Israel is currently $9.5 billion.

We have reached an initial agreement to increase it to a minimum of $15 billion in the first stage. Energy collaborations can take us to much more diverse places."

Israel possesses proven reserves of 750 billion cubic meters of gas. In 2022, Israel produced approximately 22 billion cubic meters of gas, with 10 billion cubic meters of it being sold to Egypt and Jordan. Israel is prioritizing gas exports to the European Union following Russia's loss of influence in the EU market.

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Pipeline, which has been under negotiation since 2014 between the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, and Israel, was canceled in 2021 following the withdrawal of the United States.

After this cancellation, Israel started looking for alternative routes to export gas to Europe, with Turkey standing out due to its geographical location.

During a speech at his party's group meeting on October 25, President Erdoğan expressed his concerns about the ongoing conflict in Gaza. He described it as one of the most brutal attacks in history and highlighted the high number of casualties, particularly among children, mothers, and the elderly.

He also mentioned that many Western countries consider Hamas a terrorist organization, but Turkey sees Hamas as a liberation and resistance group rather than a terrorist organization. While Turkey doesn't have a problem with the state of Israel, it does not condone the actions and brutality of Israel and disapproves of its behavior, which it perceives as being similar to that of an organization rather than a state.