Erdogan finally meets Netanyahu, but no details on NG pipeline

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the effort to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia during his first-ever known meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, but so far A Turkey could not find any specific reference to Erdogan’s primary wish for holding this meeting:  To convince Netanyahu to green-light an NG pipeline for Israeli and Egyptian off-shore fields to mainland Turkey.

Al Monitor wrote:   The meeting comes as Ankara is trying to foster better ties with regional countries in a bid to lure funds to recover from an economic crisis. Energy likely topped Erdogan’s agenda his government seeks to map out a potential pipeline project to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe via its territory.

Israel is also interested in energy cooperation with Turkey, but must also consider its strategic alliance with Turkey’s regional rivals Greece and Cyprus and the developing energy cooperation initiatives with those countries. Cyprus, an EU member not recognized by Turkey, is also seeking energy cooperation projects to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe, bypassing Turkey.

Turkish main-stream press, largely under Erdogan’s sway downplayed the meeting.

Thus this is  our first take on the meeting, which we will update if we discover more about energy cooperation segment of the summit.

The meeting came a day after Erdogan told reporters he supported the Biden administration’s initiative to broker an Israeli-Saudi deal, saying it would lower tensions in the region.

Netanyahu and Erdogan also agreed to coordinate mutual visits in the near future, according to Netanyahu’s office.

Erdogan is interested in arranging a trip to Israel as soon as possible to pray at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Channel 12 news reported, without citing a source. The prayer would mark the 100-year anniversary of the Turkish Republic, founded on October 29, 1923.

According to the Turkish readout of Tuesday’s meeting, the leaders discussed developments in Israeli-Palestinian relations. It also said that Erdogan urged cooperation in energy, technology, innovation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Turkey’s foreign minister, energy minister, and intelligence chief were also present for the meeting.

Erdogan tweeted out pictures of the sit-down, expressing hope that “our consultations will be beneficial for our country and the region.”

Signs of improved ties were also evident in Erdogan’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

In contrast with previous years, Erdogan refrained from condemning Israel and offered only a few words of support for the Palestinians, mentioning them almost as an aside in his speech.

“In order for peace to ring in the Middle East, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be brought to an eventual solution,” he said. “We will continue to support the Palestinian people and their struggle for legitimate rights under international law.”

Without a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders “it is difficult for Israel to find the peace and security it seeks in that part of the world,” he said.

“We will continue to pursue respect for the historic status of Jerusalem,” he added.

In past years, Erdogan has used the podium to sling harsh censure at Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. In 2020, he prompted a walkout by the Israeli envoy after saying that “the dirty hand that reaches the privacy of Jerusalem, where the sacred places of the three great religions coexist, is constantly increasing its audacity.”


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.