Photo Credit: Ilan Toker / screen capture YouTube
Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak

Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak is set to visit Israel by the end of this calendar year, according to Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz.

Albayrak will travel to the Jewish State in order to close a deal for the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey, Steinmentz said Wednesday after meeting with his Turkish counterpart at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress this week in Istanbul. The Likud minister said in his statement that both countries need to move quickly.

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Turkey has the fastest growing energy demand of any country in the OECD, according to Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman IHS Markit and Chairman of CERAWeek, who interviewed Albayrak for an English-language discussion at the Congress.

“Hopefully, Mr. Albayrak will pay a visit to Israel this year in 2017, which will help us accelerate and try to conclude this agreement,” Steinitz said.

Israel and Turkey have been discussing for some time the possibility of transporting Israeli natural gas to Europe and to the Balkans via a pipeline through Turkey, which could also deliver the fuel to Turkey as well.

“We want to build a pipeline stretching from Israel to Turkey in order to able to export natural gas from Israel to Turkey,” Steinitz added.

Speaking at the Congress, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is a “natural bridge” between energy producers and consumers, and declared that Turkey is now called the “Silk Road of Energy” due to its strategic geopolitical position.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received the Dewhurst Award at the Congress, which concludes on Thursday.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.