Russian President Vladimir Putin embarked on a two-day trip to Ankara on Tuesday to meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, where he stated that Russia is “founding Turkey’s nuclear sector.”
According to Reuters, Tuesday marked the official launch of work to build Turkey’s first nuclear power station, the $20 billion d plant in the southern province of Mersin.
The plant will reportedly be built by Russian state nuclear energy agency Rosatom.
During a Tuesday press conference in Ankara, Putin reportedly announced that Russia would deliver several S-400 Triumph defense systems – Moscow’s most sophisticated missile delivery system – sooner than expected. According to Russian state outlet RT, the agreement was signed in December between both nations despite objections from Turkey’s NATO allies.
“We are speeding up production, and we have finalized the prices, which is very important,” Putin reportedly said, adding that there would be “no political or strategic limitations” to technology-sharing and noted that Turkey could eventually produce its own version of the Russian system. “In terms of shortening the delivery schedule, we have done this at the request of our Turkish friends and partners.”
Putin also said, “We are not just kick-starting the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear plant, we are founding Turkey’s nuclear sector.”
Erdogan reportedly said, “The distance we have covered in our relations with Russia in the last 15 years is very important.” He added that Turkey will “aim to produce the first energy unit in 2023. We will be doing so on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. When all units are in operation, the nuclear plant will supply 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity demand.”
While in Turkey, Rouhani, Erdogan, and Putin released a joint statement expressing their opposition to the separatist groups in Syria. According to a report in Russian state outlet Sputnik, the joint statement, released on Rouhani’s website, read:
They rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries. Underlined that, in the fight against terrorism, separating the above-mentioned terrorist groups from the armed opposition groups that had joined and would join the ceasefire regime bore utmost importance with respect to preventing civilian casualties.
According to the Fars News Agency, upon Rouhani’s invitation, the three leaders have decided to hold their next meeting in the Islamic Republic of Iran.