Turkish Business Delegation Arrives in Israel to Strengthen Business Interests in Energy
The reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Israel has begun to bear fruit as a delegation of Turkish businessmen, including Ahmed Zorlu—owner of Turkish energy giant “Zorlu” and a close associate of President Erdoğan—is visiting Israel with the goal of strengthening business interests, particularly in the energy market.
The Zorlu family is one of the wealthiest in Turkey and according to Israeli assessments, the visit would not be possible without the blessing of the Turkish authorities. As part of their visit, Zorlu officials met with Erez Halfon, Chairman of Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) and Dorad power station.
Zorlu, which owns factories, electronics companies and power plants, is also a partner in Dorad. This is the first time Zorlu has been back in Israel since 2012 and comes just after the Turkish parliament officially ratified a reconciliation agreement.
During meetings, issues related to Dorad were discussed, such as ways to solve shareholder conflicts, development plans, and the possibilities of cooperation in new projects related to the growing Israeli energy sector. This is in light of developments that have occurred due to increased Israeli gas exports to Europe, the closing of coal-fired power stations and more.
The Turks are interested in several Israeli gas sector projects, including the construction of a pipeline between Turkey and the Leviathan gas field. A consortium of 15 Turkish energy companies, Zorlu among them, was set up to raise the required funding to advance the project.
Additionally, following the Ministry of Energy’s decision to gradually close coal-fired power stations and replace them with plants powered by natural gas, Zorlu has examined the possibility of building additional plants in Israel.
During the visit, representatives of Israel’s Turkish community attended the inauguration ceremony of two power stations with which Zorlu partners: the Ramat Negev Energy power station and Ashdod Energy power station. Both were officially inaugurated yesterday in the presence of Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz.
During a meeting which took place following the ceremony between Zorlu and Steinitz the two agreed that the restored normalization between the two countries would serve to strengthen cooperation in economic and energy relations..
At the ceremony, Zorlu said that Turkey is waiting to import natural gas from Israel, and also sought to convey a positive message on behalf of the business community in Turkey, stating that Turkish companies and investors look forward to strengthening ties with Israel.
Turkish Energy Minister, Berat Albayrak, who is married to President Erdoğan’s daughter, is believed to have carried out the president’s policy in the area of energy and Israel.
Steinitz said that he sees great importance in the investment of a large company like Zorlu in energy and natural gas in Israel. “I hope that normalization with Turkey will enable us to strengthen economic relations in general and export Israeli natural gas to the Turkish market in particular in the coming years, ” he said.