The country’s very first nuclear power plant has officially opened in Turkey. Part of the power station, which was built by Russia near the southern port city of Mersin, was commissioned during a ceremony. Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin attended the opening via video link.
The fact that Erdogan was not physically present at the opening of the plant is probably due to his health. On Tuesday night, the president became unwell during a televised interview. It would be stomach flu. According to the Turkish health minister, he is on the mend.
At the opening ceremony of the nuclear power plant, according to international news agencies, Erdogan was still visibly tired, sitting behind his presidential desk. It is still unclear when he will resume his presidential campaign on May 14.
President Putin also joined the opening of the nuclear power plant digitally. “The construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is another compelling example of how much you, President Erdogan, are doing for your country, for economic growth and for all Turkish citizens,” Putin said. The Russian president also said he supported Erdogan as a candidate in the upcoming elections and wanted to further strengthen cooperation between Russia and Turkey.
The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, built on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, marks years of cooperation between the two countries. In 2010, Turkey and Russia signed an agreement for the construction of the plant, which was built by the Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom.
The Russian state-owned company has a majority stake in the company responsible for the plant. According to Erdogan, the plant should provide 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity needs and thus make the country less dependent on foreign power.
During the opening ceremony, fuel was delivered for the first unit of the plant. The plan is for the entire complex to be in use and producing electricity by 2025.
Yesterday there was a demonstration against the construction and opening of the nuclear power plant. Environmental activists and representatives of opposition parties used banners to refer to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. That was on the day that it was exactly 37 years ago that one of the reactors at that plant exploded, causing the greatest nuclear disaster ever.
- Erdogan halts presidential election campaign over health concerns
- How Russia responds to Africa and why it works