Putin launches Turkey nuclear project, vows faster arms delivery

The Mavi Marmara is towed by a tugboat as it leaves the port of the northern city of Haifa

Despite being on different sides of the Syrian civil war, key regime backers Russian Federation and Iran have joined with rebel-supporting Turkey to push forward a peace process but also to ensure influence in Syria once the conflict ends.

"The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is a new step to further develop Turkish economy", Putin said.

The Akkuyu plant is being built by Russia's nuclear energy agency, Rosatom.

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

This season, Turkey boosted imports from Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, China, Ukraine, while deliveries of Russian sunseed to the Turkish market were down 32% on the year.

In December, Ankara and Moscow finalised an agreement for Turkey to purchase Russia's long-range S-400 missile defence system.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will join Erdogan and Putin for a three-way summit on Syria in Ankara on Wednesday.

Putin, in his address, said Russian Federation was pleased to help Turkey embark on its quest for nuclear energy.

This will be the first such object to be built in Turkey.

"This innovative project is highly valuable and important". Erdogan said standing next to Putin at the presidential palace in Ankara as he ordered through a video link the launch of the $20 billion dollar Akkuyu nuclear power plant project.

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

Erdogan called the project a dream come true and a symbol of the state of Turkish-Russian relations.

With Assad-backer Iran they launch in early 2017 peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, becoming the powerbrokers in Syria and sidelining the United States. Asked about the détente reached between the two countries, ending six years of animosity after the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, Erdan said, "The agreement should not have been approved, and trying to improve ties with Turkey was a mistake". Aside from the power plant, the two countries are also building the "Turkstream" pipeline to transport Russian gas to Turkey. The number of power plants under construction will be 56, including Akkuyu plant.

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