Russian-Turkish Cooperation

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Recently, Turkish and Russian officials laid the foundation for the third reactor of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant Akkuyu in the southern coastal city of Mersin. The plant’s first reactor unit is expected to be operational in 2023, the centenary of the Turkish Republic, and the remaining units in 2026. The echoes of 2003 can still be heard, when Turkey refused to back the US led invasion of Iraq. Since then Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president started building closer ties with Russia. Although Turkey is a NATO member, its growing defence cooperation with Moscow includes  $2bn deal to buy state of the art S-400 surface to air missile systems. At the same time, military collaboration with the US has been scaled back. The two countries came to blows in November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian military jet for alleged airspace violations. Moscow retaliated by imposing economic sanctions. Putin personally commiserated with Erdoğan after the 2016 coup attempt, assuring him of Moscow’s full support. That was an important moment for two instinctive autocrats who fear the popular verdict of the street. Since then, bilateral cooperation on nuclear power, energy pipelines from Russia to Turkey and Europe, tourism, investment, arms sales and military to military ties have reached unprecedented levels. In May 2017, Turkey and Russia signed a joint declaration to remove all trade restrictions between the two countries, fully restoring economic relations. The strengthening relations between Russia and Turkey are influencing the region and they will continue to influence in the future which totally depends on the state of relations between two in days to come. The current inauguration of power plant is another step to further strengthen the relations between both Nations.

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