Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Putin and Erdogan launch start of Akkuyu construction

Putin and Erdogan launch start of Akkuyu construction

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Russia's President Putin on Tuesday as construction began on the country's first nuclear power plant.

Turkey is also set to purchase Russia's long-range S-400 missile defense system - a deal that is raising eyebrows among some of Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow and Ankara agreed to shorten duration of S-400 missile systems' delivery purchased by Turkey. The sides finalised the deal for Ankara to purchase S-400 missiles, despite NATO's concerns in December 2017, and Russian Federation has been building Turkey's first nuclear power plant.

The three countries are sponsoring a series of efforts in a bid to end the seven-year war.

"When all four units go online, the plant will meet 10 percent of Turkey's energy needs", Erdogan said, adding that despite delays Turkey still planned to start generating power at the first unit in 2023.

Their meeting comes as ties between Russia and the West are nosediving to post-Cold War lows after the March poisoning of Russian ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.

Putin asserted that Russian partners would encourage Turkey's small- and medium-scale companies to participate in this project.

But Ankara-Moscow relations were also tested by a severe crisis from November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane over Syria, a confrontation both sides are trying to put behind them.

"This is completely a new step, a new step towards the development of Turkey's economy", the Russian president said.

Speaking at a later news conference with Putin, Erdogan said the cost of the project may exceed the planned $20 billion for the 4,800 megawatt (MW) plant, part of Erdogan's "2023 vision" marking 100 years since the founding of modern Turkey and meant to reduce Turkey's dependence on energy imports.

The deal has been valued at about $2bn according to reports.

But Putin refused to discuss the issue saying "these are exclusively commercial questions" rather than political ones. Putin said it was made a decision to expedite the deliveries of S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey.

Like this: