Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Through his pursuit of a nuclear energy card, Erdogan is seeking a new position for himself in the region so that he will not be left behind by these nuclear power plant convoys.
Last week, Erdogan announced that he would soon join countries in the nuclear energy sphere.
In an Internet call between the Turkish president and his Russian counterpart Putin, the third reactor of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in the Turkish province of Mersin was inaugurated.
Erdogan indicated that the station will be built by the Russian state-owned company Atom under an intergovernmental agreement for a total electric power generation equivalent to 4,800 megawatts.
According to Erdogan, the first reactor of the power plant is scheduled to be operated by 2023.
Turkey says the plant will create 10,000 jobs and is expected to add $ 6 billion to $ 8 billion for the Turkish economy.
The nuclear power plant that Turkey is supposed to possess will transfer the country to the group of nuclear states in the Middle East.
But how will this situation change Turkey’s standing in the Middle East?
Turkey is not in a good position in terms of fossil fuels, especially oil and gas.
Although it is geographically located in the Middle East, in fuel production it imports most of its energy from its allies, Azerbaijan, Qatar, etc.
In recent years, Turkey has sought to become an energy center and energy routes crossing its territory to consolidate its position.
Inland, great efforts were made, especially in the eastern Mediterranean, which led to conflict with Cyprus and Greece.
But Turkey has always sought to reduce its dependence on fuel or at least increase domestic production.
In the field of nuclear fuel, Turkey has been seeking to solve this problem for more than a decade.
The fact that Turkey is not strong in terms of energy and depends on neighboring countries forced it to make concessions to these countries in the regional equations.
Hence the talk about reducing dependence on the outside in the field of energy. Erdogan is also seeking to improve his country’s standing.
Is there a view inside Turkey itself that considers nuclear armament useful? Could these measures help Erdogan increase in popularity?
Nationalism in Turkey has many supporters. Even the Islamic currents in this country have nationalist views.
Erdogan uses these views widely to gain legitimacy and weaken opponents and critics.
He also follows the same trend in the nuclear debate.
Part of the public believes that Turkey has been humiliated by the West in recent decades, and part of the public claims that the United States has betrayed them on issues such as the Syrian crisis.
These issues made Erdogan admire his actions, including the nuclear transition, describing it as an increase in influence and prestige.
Turkey is not the only country in the region that searches for a nuclear issue.
The Pakistanis have a long history and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and even Sudan are making efforts in this regard. The same is true in Iran.
Russian-Turkish cooperation in the eyes of NATO
Turkey has long been a member of NATO. But other countries were concerned about the internal affairs of Turkey, the flow of Middle Eastern issues to NATO via Turkey, and so on.
Turkish analysts believe that the country has strategic isolation in the region.
They believe that although the Americans see themselves as partners with Ankara, they have left Turkey in critical situations. So did NATO.
Given that Biden is currently in power in the United States and the tense relations between Democrats and Erdogan. They were expected to take refuge in Moscow.
The fact that the Turks are moving towards the Russians is the result of this perception inside Turkey.
Biden’s rise to power is also influential, with Erdogan being one of the losers in Biden’s victory.
Because the Democrats will shed light on the debate over Turkey’s regional policies, and Ankara is trying to obtain concessions by approaching Moscow and Beijing.
Both Turkey and Russia have a tendency and desire to expand their power.
To what extent could this alliance be of concern to Westerners?
Just as Turkey and the Russians have common interests, such as trade disputes, the nuclear issue, etc., but there are differences and conflicts.
If we look at the history of the last 150 years, we see a Turkish-Russian conflict in the Caucasus and the Balkans.
Certainly, this difference of interests will in some cases lead to a challenge between Ankara and Moscow.
The Russians are big players, and they themselves are using their alliances to play with the United States, and they know that Turkey is also trying to score points closely with them.