Turkey, Russia, Iran Alliance Against Israel
Prior to 2018 there appeared to be potential for a developing Turkey-Israel alliance for the distribution of Israel’s Leviathan Project’s natural gas through a pipeline to Turkey and then to the EU. However, in 2018 Israel agreed to a US-backed 2,000 kilometer-long EastMed undersea natural-gas pipeline deal with Cyprus and Greece to supply the European Union which cut Turkey out of Israel’s Leviathan huge offshore natural-gas discovery.
Last week Turkey made moves to stop the Israel-Cyprus-Greece natural gas deal claiming that “the planned Israeli undersea pipeline infringes on an area claimed by Turkey under an economic agreement reached with Libya.” according to Algemeiner.com Turkey asked the United Nations to recognize a deal between Turkey and Libya as preceding Israel’s deal and having priority of status. Turkey’s foreign minister commented that his country was prepared to respond powerfully against anyone who attempted to infringe Turkish sovereignty.
Apparently, the situation is escalating and tensions are increasing as the Turkish Navy forced an Israeli research vessel out of Cypriot waters on Dec. 14th. Turkish news reports the incident as repelling an invasion, “The Turkish Navy did not allow unilateral tenders by the Greek Cypriot Administration (GASC) to invade the Eastern Mediterranean energy fields…The Israeli ship, which stopped its research, was forced to leave the area…Europe’s natural gas pipeline projects will now have to knock on the door of Turkey.”
The latest increase in tensions between Turkey and Israel is worrying. Further provocation from any side could result in armed conflict tied to conflicting territorial disputes and regional rivalries.