But they did not disclose how much they would be paying.

Turkey is Israel's closest Muslim ally and the two countries have military cooperation agreements. They have been discussing a deal on water sales for a long time and reached a tentative accord last year, but then failed to agree on a final price.

"I hope we can begin (importing the water) in the very near future," Israeli National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky told reporters on the sidelines of an international economic conference organised by the Istanbul chamber of commerce.

'Best price'

Asked how much the deal, due to be signed in the next few days, was worth, he said: "(We have) the best possible price."

Last October, Israel agreed to buy 60 million cubic metres a year from desalination plants at 55-56 cents per cubic metre.

Paritzky added the two countries have still to decide how to transport the water, which will come from the Manavgat River in southern Turkey. The options include tankers and a possible pipeline across the eastern Mediterranean.

Paritzky said this might not be limited to transporting water, when asked about the pipeline itself

“We are thinking seriously about this. Along with water, we could also buy first natural gas, then electricity," he said.