Turkey not dependent on Russia for nuclear plant: Deputy PM
AA photoTurkey on Dec. 9 insisted it was not dependent on Russia to build its first nuclear power plant amid uncertainty over the $20 billion project because of the crisis in relations between Ankara and Moscow.
Russia's state atomic agency Rosatom began constructing the plant in Akkuyu in the southern Mersin province on the shores of the Mediterranean in April.
But the Kremlin has refused to emphatically commit to the project's future after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border on Nov. 24, prompting Moscow to impose selected economic sanctions on Ankara.
"We need to clearly say that just as we are not dependent on one door for trade, Turkey is not a prisoner of one country's technology regarding its nuclear plants," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told the state-run Anatolu Agency.
"We know that there are many countries, many companies that are ready to respond to Turkey's demands."
Akkuyu is the first of three nuclear power plants Turkey currently plans to build to reduce its dependence on importing energy from oil and gas exporters like Russia and Iran.
A second plant is due to be built by a French-Japanese consortium in the Black Sea city of Sinop while a third plant is also envisaged in Igneada also on the Black Sea.
"I don't believe that the Russians would easily relinquish Akkuyu," said Kurtulmuş.
Turkey, which imports over half its natural gas needs from Russia, has sought to emphasise it can cope with any retaliatory action from Moscow in the crisis.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Dec. 5 that Ankara could find alternatives to Russian oil and gas although he emphasised there was "no sign" so far that Moscow could cut off supplies.