A Russian company withdrew from plans to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant following tensions between Moscow and Ankara over issues including the conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Artsakh, a columnist for Turkish newspaper Dünya, and translated by Ahval, said on Saturday.
The construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant to the north of Cyprus is a joint project between Turkey and Russia.
Although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed the deal in 2010, major construction only started in March 2018 and the first unit of the four to be constructed will not become operational until at least 2023.
According to Dünya columnist Kerim Ülker, Inter RAO, one of Russia’s largest public energy companies, withdrew from the project following a board meeting on October 26 partly because of the Turkish-sponsored invasion attempt of Artsakh by the Azerbaijani military and Syrian mercenaries.
Although Inter RAO only held a one percent stake in Akkuyu, it is important because the Russian company’s chairman, Igor Sechin, is Putin’s “de-facto assistant” according to Ülker.
“It is remarkable that Inter RAO, which is under the management of Igor Sechin, known as the second most powerful name in Russia, has withdrawn from the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project. Especially in the immediate aftermath of Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Ülker wrote.
Sechin, worth $17.7 billion, was a former Deputy Prime Minister to Putin’s government and more significantly is the Chairman of the Management Board of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company.
Inter RAO is only one of six Russian companies involved the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant. Given Sechin’s power and with his encouragement, other Russian companies could withdraw from building Turkey’s first nuclear plant.