23 May 2019

Putin arrives in Ankara for two-day visit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin landed Tuesday in Ankara to take part in a ceremony marking the start of construction on a joint venture for Turkey's first nuclear power plant and a summit on Syria the following day. reports citing DS.

This is Putin's first trip abroad since re-election last month. He met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan eight times in 2017 as relations between their countries improved amid cooperation on energy and inside Syria, and as Ankara faced headwinds in its relations with the West.

Russia is the top provider of natural gas to Turkey. According to government agency TurkStat, Turkey spent 37.2 billion dollars on energy imports last year, a 37-percent increase compared with 2016.

Both presidents will watch via video conference the laying of concrete at the 20-billion-dollar Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey. The plant is supposed to go online in 2023 and provide 10 per cent of the country's electricity.

The nuclear plant deal is part of wider energy projects with Russia, including the TurkStream pipeline, estimated to be worth more than 12 billion dollars, which will deliver Russian gas to both Turkey and southern Europe.

Russia's Rosatom holds a 51-percent stake in Akkuyu and is seeking to sell the other 49 per cent. Prospective Turkish companies pulled out of the project in February.

"Our relationship with Russia is very rationale," said a Turkish government official.

The talks on Syria, which will be joined by Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, will focus on creating de-escalation zones and humanitarian issues, the official said.

2018.04.03 / 16:52
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