Turkey issues permit for construction of Akkuyu nuclear power plant

Earlier in the day, the Turkish and Russian leaders launched the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant in the southern province of Mersin with a ceremony in the capital Ankara, laying the ground for the plant on the Mediterranean coast via a video teleconference held at the presidential complex.

In December Russia says it has completed negotiations with Turkey for the sale of an S-400 air defence missile system, with delivery scheduled for late 2019.

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

In a sign of the importance of the partnership, Putin's visit to Turkey is his first trip overseas since he won a historic fourth presidential mandate in March 18 polls.

Key Syrian regime backers Russian Federation and Iran have joined forces with rebel-supporting Turkey to push forward a peace process but also to ensure influence in Syria once the conflict ends.

Putin hailed the project as a symbol of growing cooperation between Russian Federation and Turkey.

Turkish-Russian relations have been increasingly well.

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Their meeting comes as ties between Russia and the West are nosediving to post-Cold War lows after the March poisoning of Russian ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.

Last month, sources familiar with the matter said Akkuyu was likely to miss its 2023 target start-up date, but Rosatom, which is looking for local partners to take a 49 percent stake in the project, said it is committed to the timetable.

The Akkuyu power station - a project costing over $20 billion (16 billion euros) and greatly disliked by environmentalists - was already launched once before in February 2015 but then put on hold due to the row over the downed Russian plane.

Erdogan declared: "We are witnessing a historic moment". When Akkuyu starts operating with all its reactors we will cover 10% of our country's electrical needs.

That year will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey, when Erdogan says the country will be among the world's top 10 economies.

"This is an issue of commerce". Putin said it was made a decision to expedite the deliveries of S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey.

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