Türkiye and Israel will start works for cooperating in the field of energy, including joint drilling and energy transmission lines, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, following a rare meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York.
Erdoğan informed that he and Netanyahu have agreed to exchange visits. “I told him: ‘First, you make your visit [to Türkiye]. Then, I will visit Israel with my delegation.’ And we agreed,” he said to a group of journalists traveling with him to New York on the occasion of the U.N. General Assembly.
Erdoğan and Netanyahu held an in-person meeting on Sept. 19. “We will take these steps without delay, and we will start our works on energy, including joint drilling. We will start to implement the energy transmission lines not only to Türkiye but to Europe via Türkiye,” he suggested.
The president also informed that the two leaders also agreed to increase the trade volume to $15 billion from the current $9.5 billion.
“We will also do this. We also had a chance to discuss what we can do together on issues regarding the international politics,” he said.
“We have discussed about our potentials. We have also explained that establishing a mechanism with the involvement of some of our ministers would be useful to boost our cooperation in different fields,” Erdoğan stated, citing energy, tourism and technology as potential areas of cooperation.
Netanyahu was supposed to pay a visit to Türkiye in early August, but he had to cancel it after a minor health problem. He is expecting to make this visit in the coming period. According to Turkish sources, Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar is expected to visit Israel soon to explore what the two countries can do together.
‘Ties with Greece will be more positive’
Israel is part of the East Med Project with Greek Cyprus, Greece and other countries. Türkiye says the project will not be successful if it excludes Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots.
The issues concerning the energy reserves in the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus problem were also on the agenda of Erdoğan’s meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in New York.
“Our objective is to diffuse the negative atmosphere in the Aegean. This is also Mitsotakis’ objective. The most important step toward this will be the summit we will hold in Thessaloniki,” Erdoğan said.
Informing that the summit, which will highlight the bilateral cooperation in many fields, will be held on Dec. 7, Erdoğan recalled that ties are warming especially after the disasters the two nations suffered recently.
“I hope our consultations will be much more positive following the Thessaloniki Summit. We should avoid actions and rhetoric that would damage the confidence between Türkiye and Greece,” he stressed.
Turkish Cyprus should be recognized as an independent state
On a question about the Cyprus question, Erdoğan reiterated that the only way to resolve the decades-old dispute is the recognition of the Turkish Cypriots’ state as an independent state.
Underlining that the recognition of Turkish Cyprus as an independent state by countries will serve peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean, Erdoğan said, “Our next road map includes effective steps for the protection of the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and its integration into the international system.”