19:11 GMT +323 October 2019
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    June 7, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a concert devoted to the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Russian-Israeli diplomatic relations in the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow.

    Shifting Goalposts: US' Allies Turkey, Israel Boosting Energy Ties With Russia

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    Russia, Turkey and Israel are boosting cooperation in various spheres including energy, the economy and geopolitics. The cooperation between the countries may influence the Middle Eastern and European energy markets and pave the way to a solution for the Syrian crisis, journalists note.

    The Russo-Turkish-Israeli rapprochement may result in the emergence of a trilateral strategic alliance.

    "No doubt, Monday, October 10, 2016, will become a key date in Turkey's diplomatic history. On that day, the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, signed an agreement on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, which will bring Russian gas to Turkey and onward to the EU," Marc Pierini, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, noted in his recent article.

    "In short, the deal represents a tactical advantage to Turkey and a new strategic position for Russia, which will keep dominating gas supplies to the EU," the scholar emphasized.

    Pierini suggested that the project has taken on new significance for Russia, since Russian gas "will now be able to bypass… an unfriendly Ukraine" and "displace underwater gas pipelines from Israel and Cyprus to Turkey and the EU."

    However, as Turkish journalist Serkan Demirtas of Hurriyet Daily News pointed out on October 15, Ankara appears to be very interested in developing the Israel-Cyprus-Turkey gas pipeline project aimed at delivering natural gas from the Leviathan and Tamar offshore reserves to Europe.

    On the last day of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Yuval Steinitz held talks with his Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak for the first time since a crisis in ties between the countries, Demirtas underscored, adding that the meeting resulted in "a verbal agreement on engaging dialogue for energy cooperation."

    "Not only in terms of economic returns, but cooperation between Turkey, Israel and Cyprus on such a big project could introduce a new strategic triangle in the Eastern Mediterranean at a time when the wider region really needs action that can bring stability," the Turkish journalist stressed.

    In his article for New Eastern Outlook, F. William Engdahl, an American author and strategic risk consultant, clarifies that neither Moscow nor Tel-Aviv would be left out in the cold by Ankara; instead, it appears that a new trilateral energy alliance is emerging in the Middle East, the author assumes.

    "Russia, Israel, and of all countries, Turkey, have opened up triangular talks to forge new cooperation on issues" including natural gas pipelines and intelligence sharing among the three in ending the Syrian crisis, Engdahl underscores.

    The author highlights that back in 2015 the US hailed the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel, expecting that the bilateral alliance would hammer the final nail in the coffin of the Russo-Turkish energy cooperation.

    However, Ankara's decision to take a step toward Moscow earlier this year has obviously upset Washington's applecart, he notes.

    "Far from an anti-Russian move by Erdogan to buy Israeli gas and push Gazprom out, Russia, Israel and Turkey are now in talks to combine forces to focus on the huge EU gas market. By feeding both Israeli gas and Russian gas through Turkey, Erdogan gets his Turkish gas hub dream," Engdahl emphasizes.

    Mustapha Karkouti of Dubai-based Gulf News also calls attention to the increasing cooperation between Ankara, Moscow and Tel-Aviv.

    The improvement in Turkish-Israeli ties "will naturally lead to the return of ambassadors, and it will also open the doors to huge opportunities of coordination between Turkey and Israel on issues of security and intelligence," Karkouti writes, adding that "on a parallel track, Erdogan is actively engaged in rebuilding his country's relations with Russia."

    "Russia, Turkey and Israel have increased their cooperation on security issues and exchange of information on the situation in Syria," he points out.

    According to Engdahl, the recent developments signal that Washington's influence continues to fade in the Middle East leaving the space for other geopolitical players.

    Related:

    Confrontation with Russia in Syria Risks Incalculably Serious War With the West
    Putin, Netanyahu Express Commitment to Further Development of Russia-Israel Ties
    Leviathan Israeli-Turkish Gas Deal Unlikely, Due to Technical, Political Reasons
    Tags:
    Russian natural gas, gas, Turkish Stream gas pipeline, The Syrian war, European Union, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Europe, Turkey, Syria, United States, Russia
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