Electricity

Erdoğan hints at cooperation with Greece in nuclear energy

Erdogan cooperation Greece nuclear energy

Photo: Kremlin.ru / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.en

Published

December 14, 2023

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Published:

December 14, 2023

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President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested that his country can supply Greece with electricity from its planned nuclear power plant in Sinop and with gas via a future hub in Thrace.

Greece and Turkey are working to improve bilateral relations again after constant cycles of sharp tensions and rivalry against periods of cautious reconciliation. After last week’s meetings with the Greek leadership in Athens, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted at the possibility of supplying energy to his country’s western neighbor.

He and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have signed a joint declaration, which was accompanied by more than a dozen agreements. Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) and Turkish Electricity Transmission Corp. (TEİAŞ) signed a memorandum of understanding on installing a new electricity line between Nea Sanda and Babaeski to boost the cross-border flow capacity by 600 MW.

However, Erdoğan later said the nuclear and gas projects are a potential source of energy for Greece. He vowed to strive for progress “in all areas” and suggested that the two countries could cooperate on sharing resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. They have numerous disputes in the region, mostly centered on the division of Cyprus, offshore hydrocarbon projects around the island and investments in electricity transmission.

Turkey approves commissioning first reactor in Akkuyu nuclear power plant

“We can also contribute to Greece via the energy generated by our nuclear power plant, which will be built in Sinop,” the Turkish president pointed out. Erdoğan added that his country could also supply Greece via a natural gas hub that it intends to set up with Russia in Eastern Thrace, near the border.

Turkey is receiving Russian gas through the TurkStream pipeline, which runs under the Black Sea, while also developing its own oil and gas fields.

The Turkish president said the two countries could cooperate on sharing resources in the disputed Eastern Mediterranean region

Of note, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) has just issued a permit to commission the first unit in Akkuyu, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. Russia-based Rosatom, the contractor, is building four VVER-1200 reactors with 4.8 GW in overall capacity. All four reactors are scheduled to come online by the end of 2028.

The site is on the Mediterranean coast just north of Cyprus. Importantly, the government in Ankara is planning to install a subsea power cable to interconnect its electricity system with the one in the ethnic Turkish entity on the island. Turkey is the only country that recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Third nuclear project is planned in Eastern Thrace

The second nuclear power project is planned in the Sinop province, in the far north, and talks were recently underway with Rosatom and South Korea, according to Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Alparslan Bayraktar.

However, he also said Turkey was nearing a deal with a Chinese company to build a nuclear power plant in Eastern Thrace, also known as European Turkey. The rest of Thrace is in Bulgaria and Greece.

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