Akkuyu NPP: Will it alleviate Turkey's energy dependency on Russia?
A week before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is essential to overcome possible delays in the Akkuyu Nuclear Plant Project (NPP), Russian nuclear energy giant Rosatom had already made two moves, which according to Pelin Cengiz of +Gercek Erdogan had no choice but consent.
Rosatom's subsidiary Akkuyu Nukleer, the builder of the Akkuyu NPP, annulled its contract with Turkish contractor IC Ictas Construction on 26 July, and signed a deal with TSM Enerji, a Turkey-incorporated company owned by three Russian firms.
In another move, Rosatom provided a five billion dollar fund in late July as part of its investment in the NPP, according to a report by Turkish state news agency AA, also sending a message that a further $10 billion will be transferred to Turkish banks in the following days.
The injection of 15 billion dollars into Turkey's banking system is of critical significance as Ankara is grappling with a currency crisis that led to reserve currencies doubling their values against Turkey's local currency in a single year.
Pelin Cengiz says in her article:
"The Erdogan administration that has been already cornered in issues of economy, who is out of [Central Bank] reserves and virtually penniless, has turned a blind eye on this operation for the sake of 15 billion dollars. So nobody should shed tears. I see comments on social media saying, 'Akkuyu is now owned by Russians.' I can't help but smile at such comments. There is something very skillfully marketed by the AKP [Justice and Development Party] administration in Turkey, which people accept without even trying to comprehend: Akkuyu always belonged to the Russians. Now they own the construction and management as well. There's no such thing as [Turkey's] domestic and national energy. Forget about these fairy tales. The Russians will own Akkuyu forever."
When completed, Akkuyu NPP will produce 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually to meet around 10% of Turkey's power consumption, and according to a very recent statement by Erdogan, it may be even 20%.
The question remains whether Akkuyu NPP will help lessen Turkey's energy dependency on other countries, in particular on Russia.