Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s two-day visit to Turkey begins today.
Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel have remained strained since the deaths of 60 Palestinians during protests in Gaza against the US embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem. However, the recent emergence of both countries’ mutual energy security interests—catalyzed by the US’ withdrawal of support for the EastMed (Israel-Cyprus-Greece) pipeline—has introduced Turkey as a possible intermediary for the shipment of Israeli gas to Europe.
As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, Europe is currently seeking alternative natural gas corridors to decrease its dependence on Russian energy.
In the short-term, given Turkey’s economic downturn and the benefits of pipeline transit fees, expect Herzog and Turkish President Erdogan to discuss a potential pipeline to transport Israeli gas to Europe via Turkey. This would reduce the West’s dependence on Russian gas. In exchange, expect Israel to lean on Turkey to decrease its maritime aggression toward Cyprus over eastern Mediterranean gas.
Israel’s cooperation with Turkey will also likely lead to the stabilization of the Cypriot-Greek-Turkish energy rivalry in the eastern Mediterranean. Greater regulation of Mediterranean gas reservoirs will likely increase flows of natural gas to Europe over the medium- to long-term.
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Alex is an Analyst focusing on political events in the post-Soviet space. With a background in international law and diplomacy, his expertise lies in the geopolitical, economic and energy security dynamics of the South Caucasus.