Erdogan, Putin hail joint nuclear plant as symbol of friendship

March 10, 2021
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A Russian-built nuclear power plant in Turkey, set to go online in 2023, represents close cooperation between the two countries, both country’s presidents said on Wednesday.

“We see this giant project as one of the symbols of Turkish-Russian cooperation,” Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told a videoconference with Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, whom he referred to as “my dear friend.”

Erdogan and Putin watched the laying of concrete at the third unit of the 20-billion-dollar Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey via video link.

The construction of the plant, Turkey’s first ever, started in 2018.

Putin praised the project as a “symbol of friendship” and said it will “contribute to Turkey’s energy security.”

The plant’s first unit, out of a total of four, is scheduled to be operational in 2023, the centennial of the republic’s foundation, Erdogan said.

The “strategic” project will eventually provide 10 per cent of Turkey’s electricity, Erdogan added.

Russia’s Rosatom has a 99.2 per cent stake in Akkuyu. Turkish engineers are receiving training in Russia to operate the plant in the future.

Erdogan said construction of the fourth unit will start in 2021.

Ankara is determined to deepen ties with Moscow in other fields, including security cooperation in the wider region, Erdogan added.

Turkey and Russia have struck a fragile balance in Syria and Libya even as they support opposing sides and are jointly monitoring a ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh.

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