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Putin says Russia, Turkey agreed to speed up delivery of S-400s

04 April 2018

President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan via video conferencing have launched the construction at the site of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

In December, Ankara and Moscow finalised an agreement for Turkey to purchase Russia's long-range S-400 missile defence system.

The two-day trip to Turkey is Putin's first visit to a foreign country since he was reelected last month, and will also include talks with Iran's Hassan Rouhani on Syria.

Turkey's TAEK atomic energy authority on April 2 granted Russian builder Rosatom a construction license to start work on the first unit of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

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Turkish troops are in preparation for moving against new targets outside the country's borders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

But Ankara-Moscow relations were also tested by a severe crisis from November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian war plane over Syria, a confrontation both sides are trying to put behind each other.

"This innovative project is highly valuable and important".

"We hope that during those discussions a full stop will be placed on [the issue of] what happened" to former spy Sergei Skripal, Putin said ahead of the meeting on Wednesday of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

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Following speeches delivered by the two leaders, Development Minister Lutfi Elvan pressed the button to lay the foundation of the Akkuyu plant in Turkey's southern Mersin province and implemented the agreement signed between the Turkish and Russian governments back in 2010.

The contract for the Mersin NPP was awarded to Russian Federation in 2010.

Erdogan, who in 2017 held eight face-to-face meetings with Putin and has already spoken to the Russian leader seven times by phone this year, has said that Ankara will not act against Moscow "based on an allegation".

Turkey expects its first nuclear power station to become functional by the year 2023, but the project to build the four-unit plant with an estimated cost of $20 billion has been beset by delays. The number of power plants under construction will be 56, including Akkuyu plant.

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Putin says Russia, Turkey agreed to speed up delivery of S-400s