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Ankara Blocked Israeli and Cypriot Membership in an International Body Dedicated to Promoting Renewable Energy

Turkish media outlets are quoting Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz to the effect that Ankara at one point blocked Israeli and Cypriot membership in an international body dedicated to promoting renewable energy. Reporting on the diplomatic gambit, which in some quarters would be greeted as an unreasonable extension of geopolitical rivalries into environmental issues, has been muddled. Israel — a global leader in renewable energy that Al Gore identified as the leading Middle East state in sustainable technology — has participated in IRENA sessions stretching back to 2010. Some reports indicate that Turkey blocked further participation in 2011, but Israel continues to be listed as a full member state by IRENA. It is unclear why top Turkish officials are conveying the controversy to reporters, though it is in line with Ankara’s efforts to block joint Israeli-Cypriot renewable energy development and even to undermine military-to-military cooperation between US-led NATO and Israel.