Israel, Turkey hold first meeting on construction of gas pipeline: report

Israel Turkey gas pipeline

 Meeting builds on October meeting between Israel's energy minister and Turkish counterpart
A delegation from Israel's Foreign Ministry and Department of Energy last week held a secret meeting with Turkish representatives to discuss the construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries, Israel's Army Radio reports.

The report did not reveal any details of the meeting.

Last month, Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz said the countries will start examining the feasibility of building an undersea gas pipeline to pump Israeli gas to Turkish consumers and on to Europe.

"What we decided is to establish immediately a dialogue between our two governments... in order to examine the possibility and the feasibility of such a project," Steinitz said after talks with Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak in Istanbul on October 13.

He said that while Israel was also building regional energy cooperation links with Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece "the Turkish option is very important".

He added that Israel "will also be glad to see Turkish companies involved in Israeli energy sector" including in the exploration of gas fields.

Steinitz described his visit as "a token of the normalization process that just started between our two states."

Relations between the former close allies deteriorated with the rise to power of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP and took a hard hit in 2010 following a deadly Israeli naval raid on a Turkish flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The raid, in which Israeli commandos were viciously attacked by activists on board the flotilla's main ship, the Mavi Marmara , left 10 Turks dead and several Israeli soldiers seriously wounded.

The two countries signed a reconciliation agreement in June.

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