The discovery of the Leviathan gas field within Israeli and Cypriot waters has made Israel a potential energy exporting nation. However the means to transport the gas to the large energy markets of Europe continues to elude Israel. Recent talks between Turkey and Israel about plans to build a gas pipeline, through Turkey and into Europe, have been extensively reported.
Many of the reports claim the discussions are the results of the thaw in relations between Turkey and Israel. The rift was supposedly caused by Israel’s attack on the MV MarMara, the aid ship attempting to break Israel’s siege on Gaza in 2010, and the execution of 8 Turkish citizens on board the ship. But even during this period of “tense” relations, discussions about the gas pipeline were still being held between Turkey and Israel. Trade between the two states went up by 25%.
The tense relations were a facade, a face saving measure that allowed Turkish President Erdogan to portray an image of a patriotic defender of Turkish citizens, and a champion of Islam and the Palestinian cause. During the initial uproar of the flotilla incident, Erdogan promised the next flotilla would be escorted by the Turkish navy. Instead Erdogan blocked the Mavi MarMara from heading to Gaza. Far from defending the Palestinian cause, Turkey continued to produce Israel’s Military combat boots which are used in the occupation of the West bank. Relations with Turkey improved even though Israel’s treatment of Palestinians did not improve. This reveals the extent of which Turkey’s foreign policy is drenched in hypocrisy.
For both Israel and Turkey, business comes first. Israel is also juggling a foreign policy inconsistent with its portrayed image of being at the forefront of the war on terrorism. The fact that Turkey is one of Al-Qaeda’s and ISIS’s main benefactors , has not been an issue for Israel. Even when ISIS beheaded Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff while Turkey was allowing ISIS to use its border as a smuggling route, Israeli-Turkish relations were not harmed.
Israel and Turkey have a shared agenda in Syria, which has stood in the many business plans between the respective states. Long Gas pipelines can only be built economically in shallow waters hugging coastlines, or future repairs would be difficult. The planned Turkey-Israel pipeline could potentially have to go through Syria’s exclusive economic zone which extends 370 km off the Syrian coastline. Israel illegally occupies Syrian land and has been in a state of cold war with Syria for decades. Both Israel and Turkey would economically benefit from the dismantlement of the Syrian State through the support of terrorist groups operating in the country. Several American think tanks have been promoting the balkanization of Syria and separating its coastal region from the rest of the country. Armed Forces Journal published plans to balkanise Syria in 2006, preliminary talks on the gas pipeline between Turkey-Israel were also held that year. Such a breakdown of the Syrian state would clear the path for Israel and Turkey to build a pipeline across Syria’s coastal region, and ISIS is the tool by which this can be achieved.
In recent years, Syria has also stood in the way of Turkey’s goal of becoming a pipeline hub. While Turkey doesn’t have much oil and gas resources of its own, it can still profit from the resources of surrounding nations by forcing all gas pipelines through its borders and then onto Europe. But in 2009, Syrian president Assad refused to sign the proposed agreement that would allow a pipeline through Syria connecting Qatari gas to Turkey and onto European markets. Assad said this was to protect the interests of his Russian allies who are the main suppliers of gas to Europe. Russia was negotiating its own gas pipeline deal with Turkey which was shelved after Turkey shot down a Russian jet. The new Leviathan pipeline deal with Israel would resurrect Turkey’s hope of becoming a pipeline hub again. But once again Syria stands in the way, which is why Turkey has chosen a policy of sending ISIS terrorists across the border to destabilise Syria. This policy has already allowed Turkey to supply Syrian oil to Europe, via ISIS oil trucks.
Israel itself has been supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS inside Syria, providing a safe zone and medical treatment in the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan heights. This has gone hand in hand with the discovery of oil in the Golan Heights. The Golan is internationally recognised as Syrian land that was occupied by Israel in 1967. The selling of Syrian oil by Israel would constitute a war crime under the fourth geneva convention. In spite of this, Israel granted a ‘drilling licence’ to a company whose shareholders include Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch and Jacob Rothschild in 2013. Israel has been attempting to circumvent international law and annex the Golan Heights for decades. But the Syrian Druze population who inhabit the Golan remain steadfastly loyal to Syria and supportive of the Syrian government and military. Israel is backing Al Qaeda and ISIS in the hope that destabilising the Golan Heights will legitimise Israel’s annexation claims. Israeli President Netanyahu asked Obama to support Israel’s bid to annex to Golan, under the guise of protecting the Syrian Druze population from the very terrorists Israel is supporting. Israel would only be able to sell illegally obtained Syrian oil to Europe through their Turkish route. Talks between Turkey and Israel as far back as 2006 included not only gas, but oil pipelines as well.
Turkey and Israel have allied themselves with terrorist groups, ISIS and Al Qeada, to dismantle the Syrian state and allow for the theft of Syrian energy resources. Israel’s facade of being opposed to terrorism and Turkey’s attempt to portray an image of being champion of Palestinian rights takes second place to that objective. The death of hundreds of thousands of people, the destruction of an entire nation, and the spread of terror throughout the world, are all sacrifices Israel and Turkey are willing to make if it means future oil and gas revenue.