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Reshaping regional politics

Apr 07,2018 - Last updated at Apr 07,2018

The launching of construction on Turkey's first nuclear power plant by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is a clear sign that Ankara is moving ever closer to Moscow in geopolitical terms.

A Russian company is building the nuclear plant for Turkey in Akkuyu near the city of Mersin. The two countries have gotten closer and closer on Syria and other regional flash points after a deep rift between them when Turkish air defences shot down a Russian war plane that entered Turkish airspace in 2015.

At that time, the two nations were at loggerheads over the Syrian conflict, with Moscow siding with Damascus, while Ankara stood solidly behind the Syrian revolution.

Since then, relations between them took a sharp turn to the better and were on a continuous mend after an exchange of visits between Erdogan and Putin. Recently the two countries reached a military accord, under which Moscow would supply Turkey with an advanced missile system.

Given the fact that the EU has been rebuffing Turkey's bid to join the European Union as a fully fledged member, and the overall deterioration of relations between Turkey and several western nations, notably Germany and France, the stage was set for closer relations between Ankara and Moscow on several fronts.

It is no longer fetched to conclude that Turkey is literally walking away from NATO altogether, especially after the redeployment of a NATO airbase from Turkey to Jordan last year; another sign of a cooling of relations between NATO and Turkey.

The construction of a nuclear plant in Turkey, with the direct help from Moscow, signifies not only a much warmer relations between the two countries, but also a clear sign that Ankara wants to be a nuclear power at last, after seeing several nations in the region having or on the verge of having nuclear weapons.

These developments, accompanied by shifts in the axes of power in the area, have wide implications for not only the region, but also the entire world. A nuclear-powered Turkey will have a profound impact on regional conflicts that may reshape regional politics for decades to come.

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