Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday received Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in the capital Ankara for talks. According to the Turkish presidency, Erdogan and Cohen held a closed-door meeting at the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency. Israel was a major force in helping Turkey following last week’s catastrophic earthquake that took the lives of tens of thousands and destroyed entire communities.
Earlier on Tuesday, Cohen met his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and they pledged to continue their efforts to invigorate the commercial relationship between their two countries. On Wednesday, Reshet Bet Radio revealed that the Turks have been pleading with Israel to use their pipeline to sell its natural gas to European clients.
“We are interested in cooperation in the area of natural gas, at a time when Europe is looking for substitutes for Russian gas,” Cavusoglu told his guest, adding, “We have facilities, and we can help you export the gas to Europe.”
Cohen did not rule it out and replied that the issue will be examined when he goes back to Jerusalem.
Turkey first asked to lend its services to selling Israeli gas to Europe back when President Isaac Herzog visited Erdogan in March 2022. Herzog passed the message to the Lapid-Bennett government, but then-foreign minister Yair Lapid was not interested.
Should Israel decide in favor of the Turkish option––which Ankara desperately needs since its economy is against the ropes with an inflation rate of between 60% and 85%––this would almost certainly raise angry objections from Israel’s traditional allies, Greece and Cyprus, Turkey’s historic enemies.