Erdogan: Turkey, Russia to continue working for peace, stability in region

Apr 04, 2018, 01:39
Erdogan: Turkey, Russia to continue working for peace, stability in region

Earlier in the day, the Turkish and Russian leaders launched the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant in the southern province of Mersin with a ceremony in the capital Ankara, laying the ground for the plant on the Mediterranean coast via a video teleconference held at the presidential complex.

He also mentioned other strategic projects between Turkey and Russia, including the purchase of Russian S-400 Air Defense Systems and Turkish Stream Natural Gas Pipeline project.

Turkey insists the Russian plane - deployed as part of Moscow's military campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's fight against rebels - strayed into Turkish airspace.

Erdoğan will host Putin and Iranian counterpart Hasan Rouhani on April 4 to discuss the ongoing Astana and Sochi processes to bring an end to the conflict in Syria.

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"We made an agreement about the S-400s (with Russia) and this issue is now closed", he said.

"The scale of this project is hard to exaggerate", Putin said at the ceremony.

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. "Turkey is a highly developed state in terms of technology and economics, but this is a new stage in the development of the Turkish economy", Putin said.

In March Britain blames Russia for the poisoning on its soil of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

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Erdogan declared: "We are witnessing a historic moment".

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.

It will produce 35 billion kilowatts of electricity at full capacity, which will meet about 10 percent of Turkey's electricity needs.

Russian Federation and Turkey are also building the TurkStream gas pipeline under the Black Sea that will allow Moscow to pump gas to Europe avoiding Ukraine and increase Turkey's importance as a transit hub.

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