ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday warned Russia that Ankara has alternatives to Moscow for building its first nuclear power plant and importing gas, as tensions rise over the Russian bombing campaign in Syria.
Russia is building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu on the shores of the Mediterranean, a controversial $20 billion project aimed at improving its energy self sufficiency.
Turkey is also one of the top importers of Russian gas and had joined forces with Moscow in a major project to build a new gas pipeline underneath the Black Sea.
But speaking to Turkish reporters en route to Japan, Erdogan warned Moscow such cooperation was at risk due to its bombing of Syria and violations of Turkish airspace.
“Losing Turkey would entail significant losses for Russia,” Erdogan said. “Others can build the Akkuyu plant if the Russians don’t.”
“Russia has already invested $3 billion in this project. In this case, it’s Russia who should act with more prudence.”
He added that energy-poor Turkey was even capable of going elsewhere for its natural gas supplies.