Turkey may sign Gaza deal for energy rights off Israel’s coast - pro-gov't daily

Turkey maysign a deal with Gaza’s Hamas administration for water access and energy rights off the coast of Israel, pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper reported on Monday, citing a retired admiral.

The idea was suggested by the architect of Turkey’s Blue Homeland doctrine, Cihat Yaycı, the newspaper said, who maintains the agreement would  “increase international recognition for Palestine and thus realpolitik support for it.’’ 

The model is based on an agreement Turkey signed with Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in 2019 and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 2011, according to Yaycı.

Signed on Nov. 27, 2019, the Turkey-Libya deal denotes new maritime boundaries between the two nations, that cuts across a zone in the Mediterranean currently claimed by Greece and Cyprus and spans from southwest Turkey to northeast Libya.

Turkey’s 2011 deal with the TRNC, which only Ankara recognises, paved the way for offshore gas exploration. Both agreements escalated regional tensions over energy reserves.

The agreement with Hamas would effectivelydraw a line from the Turkish coastline directly to Gaza, according to Yeni Şafak, thus creating a corridor that cuts off Israel from Greece and the East Med pipeline,  a 1,900-km (1,180-mile) proposed pipeline to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe signed by Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

“Such an agreement could turn in our favour the game being played against Turkey over the EAst Med (pipeline),’’ Yaycı said. “It would be a strategic chess move for us.’’

The Yeni Şafak report arrives as Turkey condemns Israel following weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tension in occupied East Jerusalem, culminating in clashes. Israeli warplanes have since launched a series of heavy air strikes at several locations of Gaza City. 

The death tollin Gaza has climbed to a total of 197, including at least 58 children and 34 women, according to the PalestinianMinistry, Reuters reported on Monday.

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