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Tel Aviv Considering Gas Pipelines to Turkey, Greece – Energy Minister

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Israel is reviewing the possibility of launching two pipeline ventures to export gas to Turkey and Greece, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In late January, Tel Aviv, Nicosia and Athens agreed to work on joint projects to export gas from the Eastern Mediterranean’s gas reserves discovered in the seas belonging to Israel and Cyprus to Europe.

"If things improve with Turkey… gas could both be sold to Turkey, and to Greece via Turkey," Steinitz told the Greek Kathimerini newspaper.

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The Israeli minister added that the discovery of strategic gas reserves in Israel and Egypt would justify the costs of building a major pipeline to Greece.

Ankara has been in talks with Israeli firms over a potential pipeline to carry Israeli natural gas to Turkey for several years, but the negotiations reached an impasse as relations between the two countries deteriorated.

Relations between Israel and Turkey deteriorated after the Freedom Flotilla incident in 2010, when a convoy of six ships, including one under Turkey's flag, tried to approach the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and activists on board. The flotilla was blocked and stormed by Israeli forces, with eight Turkish citizens being killed.

Currently, Israel’s Leviathan gas field, first drilled in 2011, is one of the largest young gas reserves in the world, with some 3,450 trillion cubic meters of natural gas of undiscovered reserves.

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