The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 3, 2018 launched the construction of Turkey's first-ever nuclear power plant in Mersin region, a large port city on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey.
The launch of the project was conducted by the two Presidents through video conferencing. The total estimated cost of the power plant would be around 20 billion dollars.
Once completed the power station will contribute around 10 percent to the electricity needs of Turkey, which is significant as the nation has few energy resources of its own.
• The construction workers at the site have already begun work on the ground.
• The first stage is due to be completed by 2023, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of modern Turkey's founding. It is expected to be completed fully by 2026.
• The project marks a new stage in the development of Turkey's economy.
• It is expected to contribute to the country’s energy security and also play an important role in its fight against climate change.
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Turkey and Russia Relations: Then and Now
• Though Turkey and Russia shared a strained past with the two nations engaging in a number of wars till the early 20th century, in the 1920s their relations warmed considerably after the Bolshevik Soviets assisted the Turkish revolutionaries during the Turkish War of Independence.
• However, relations between the two nations worsened after Joseph Stalin took over and demanded Soviet bases on the Turkish Straits.
• The relations between the countries hit their lowest level during the Cold War when Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and aligned itself with the United States of America and other North American and West European nations, against Soviet Union’s Warsaw alliance.
• Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, relations between Turkey and Russia improved significantly with the two nations eventually becoming each other's largest trade partners.
• In November 2015, the relations again became severely strained after a Turkish F-16 combat aircraft shot down a Russian Su-24 during an airspace dispute close to the Syria–Turkey border.
• Despite the differences, Turkey and Russia have forged promising ties in recent months on a number of areas including energy as well as the Syrian crisis.
• Key Syrian regime backers Russia and Iran have joined forces with rebel-supporting Turkey to push forward a peace process and also to ensure influence in Syria once the conflict ends.