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Behind the Scenes of the Turkish-Israeli Breakthrough


After almost three years of diplomatic stalemate, Israel apologized to Turkey for the killing by the Israel Defence Forces of eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American during the Gaza Flotilla raid in May 2010. The apology was brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry in the run-up to President Barack Obama's visit to Israel. Syria, regional geopolitics and US relations all converged to lead to a political alignment of the stars. Perhaps above all else Eastern Mediterranean energy contributed to the breakthrough. But the Turkish-Israeli rapprochement need not mean an end of the Israeli-Cypriot partnership. Were plans to construct an undersea Turkish-Israeli pipeline to go ahead, ideally this could be used to transport gas not only from Israel's Leviathan field, but from the entire Levant basin. Such an Israeli-Cypriot-Turkish partnership over natural gas would be possible only in the context of an agreement in Cyprus, foreseeing, inter alia a resource governance and revenue sharing component between the two Cypriot communities.