ADDS MORE REMARKS FROM TURKISH PRESIDENT
By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) — Russian President Vladimir Putin may visit Türkiye on April 27 to officially grant the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant a nuclear facility status, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.
"Putin may be present on April 27, or we will connect online together, and hopefully, we will take the first step," Erdogan said in an interview broadcast live on Turkish broadcasters A Haber and ATV.
Erdogan said the Akkuyu plant was one of Türkiye's "indispensable investments," adding the facility would help the country "seriously store energy."
Akkuyu, currently under construction in Türkiye's southern Mersin province, will be the country's first nuclear power plant.
Its first reactor is set to be operational in 2023, with the entire plant to be up and running by 2025. The project began with an intergovernmental agreement in 2010 between Türkiye and Russia.
The plant, expected to have an installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts and four reactors, is set to begin producing power later this year.
On the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Erdogan said Türkiye would not be part of the conflict.
He stressed that Türkiye wanted to solve the dispute via mediation.
Türkiye, internationally praised for its mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly urged Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.
- Türkiye earthquakes
Erdogan also promised to heal the wounds caused by the powerful twin earthquakes that hit the country's southern region last month and claimed more than 50,000 lives.
He underlined that foundations for new residential buildings were being laid in the disaster zone.
"We've started the construction of 27,949 houses. Some of the village houses are even near completion. We'll have completed them by the summer," he said.
Türkiye is planning to build 319,000 houses in one year in the quake-hit region.
On Feb. 6, magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 Turkish provinces — Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurfa.
More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the devastating quakes as well as many others in northern Syria.