Israeli Energy and Natural Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz, speaking to Turkish daily Hurriyet, said that in the best scenario, Israeli natural gas might reach Turkey in three years and added: “In the circumstances, Israel may export its gas to Europe via the TANAP* pipeline”.
Asked to comment on the Cyprus problem, the Israeli Minister replied that he did not want to take up the Cyprus issue.
The paper writes: “In the forthcoming period, Cyprus will be on the agenda during the project of transferring Israeli gas to Turkey. It is stated that the pipeline should be passed through Cyprus’ EEZ. On the question of whether this project will accelerate the negotiation process in Cyprus, Steinitz said: ‘I think that the problem may be solved. During our meetings with the Greeks and the Cypriots, normalisation of Israel’s relations with Turkey has always been at the top of the agenda. Both countries may want the constructions of such a pipeline and it may go through Cyprus. In my opinion this obstacle may be overcome. Perhaps in the future, the pipeline may transfer also Cyprus gas’.
The Israeli Minister, who avoided speaking on this issue, stressed that the governments of Turkey and Cyprus will decide on this and added: ‘I do not want to become involved in this issue. It is an issue between Turkey and Cyprus’.”
* The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) is a natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. It will be a central part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will connect the giant Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe through the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), TANAP and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
Construction of the pipeline began formally in March 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2018.