News Analysis |
Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, officially inaugurated the development of first-ever nuclear power plant at Akkuyu, Turkey. The deal was signed between two countries back in 2010, but the project has been subjected to continuous delays due to various reasons. Upon its completion in 2023, the power plant will be able to produce 4800 megawatts of electricity which will be roughly 10% of the entire energy demand of the country.
Though experts are still sceptical about the work completion by 2023, nevertheless Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency, has expressed the determination to bring the initiative to climax well within the given time frame. The Akuyyu Power Plant is fully funded by the Russians right now.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reached Ankara to participate in a Tri-Nation dialogue over Syria. It is an indication of how effectively Russia is partnering with regional players to sideline United States of America, who was once the “Sole King Maker” of this unipolar world order.
But according to a bilateral agreement concerning this mega project of $20 billion, 51% of share will remain with the Russian companies while 49% will be available for private investors. Major disapproval came from Cyprus as the country is willing to contest the construction of this plant at relevant forums, said the government spokesperson. Concerns include the location of the plant being at an earthquake-prone area along the Mediterranean and hazardous waste being discharged as soon as the plant gets going.
Geopolitical Foes, Strategic Friends
Turkey and Russia have managed to keep their regional differences aside and have gone a long way to build a strong strategic partnership. In Syria, both these countries have been known to support the opposite sides. Russia has been backing the sitting Assad regime whereas Turkey has always lauded the efforts to strip Bashar Al Assad from power. Back in 2015, it was believed that things may deteriorate when a Turkish Air Force F-16 intercepted a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 and shot it down. Relations were still frenzied when Russian ambassador was shot to death in 2016. Given the severity of both these incidents, ideally diplomatic relations should have been in turmoil but the geostrategic paradigm bought the countries closer. With embedded economic interests now, both Russia and Turkey are currently enjoying a dream run of strategic cooperation.
Istanbul approached Moscow for the procurement of modern S-400 defence system when it was constantly given cold shoulder by its allies at NATO. The deal was inked in December last year, after which the some NATO allies raised serious reservations over the possibility of integrating a Russian military hardware with NATO’s defence architecture. Turkey has maintained that criticism against its procurement of S-400 is baseless as Greece, another NATO country, was allowed to procure the S-300 sophisticated technology without any major reservations. The fact that Russia readily agreed to the deal illustrates how desperately it wanted to have a fair stake in the global market of arms suppliers. Not only it is contesting and building ties with the NATO and US allies in Europe and the Middle East, the extended Russians arms, to embrace countries having dissent with the US, have reached South Asia.
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Unlike many European countries and NATO allies who have decided to banish Russian diplomats, Turkey has shown no such intention. Diplomatically, these are certainly the troubling times for Russia as it may have not seen such a diplomatic onslaught since the cold war days. Having a vocal country from Muslim bloc is certainly going to help Russia come out of this crucial situation.
The deal was signed between two countries back in 2010, but the project has been subjected to continuous delays due to various reasons. Upon its completion in 2023, the power plant will be able to produce 4800 megawatts of electricity.
Russia’s closure to former US allies is more a result of counterproductive impacts of US policies toward them rather the success of Russian strategic and diplomatic ambitions. The reason Turkey drifted away from NATO was, perhaps, the discriminatory attitude from the allies, especially US, and Russia had to embrace the former as to counter the US influence. Not only has it brought Putin one step closer to be in a position to call the shots as far the global affairs are concerned, it is helping Russian economy with the sale of weapons as well.
Today, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reached Ankara to participate in a Tri-Nation dialogue over Syria. It is an indication of how effectively Russia is partnering with regional players to sideline United States of America, who was once the “Sole King Maker” of this unipolar world order.