Turkey, Russia prioritize S-400 air defense missile systems deal

The Mavi Marmara is towed by a tugboat as it leaves the port of the northern city of Haifa

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday embarked on a two day visit to Russia's increasingly close partner Turkey to launch the construction of its first nuclear power plant and coordinate policy on the war in Syria.

He also mentioned other strategic projects between Turkey and Russia, including the purchase of Russian S-400 Air Defense Systems and Turkish Stream Natural Gas Pipeline project.

On Wednesday, Putin, Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are expected to hold a summit in the Turkish capital of Ankara to discuss Syria's future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Turkey on Tuesday for the groundbreaking ceremony of Turkey's first nuclear power station, which will be built with the help of Moscow.

Revealing the agenda of the seventh meeting of High-level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council at a news conference in Moscow, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said: "Much attention will be given to worldwide affairs and military cooperation, also here is a famous topic other questions concerning military exchange".

The Akkuyu plant is being built by Russia's nuclear energy agency, Rosatom.

Turkish troops are in preparation for moving against new targets outside the country's borders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. The three countries are sponsoring a series of efforts in a bid to end the seven-year war.

"This innovative project is highly valuable and important".

'This scale of the project is hard to exaggerate, ' Putin said at the ceremony.

Recalling that more than 200 Turkish students were studying in the nuclear energy field in Russian universities, Putin said the graduates were offered employment in the Akkuyu plant.

The two leaders jointly welcomed the new power plant project which will be constructed in the southern province of Mersin, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The agreement between Turkey and Russian Federation for the construction of Akkuyu was signed in 2010.

Speaking at a later news conference with Putin, Erdogan said the cost of the project may exceed the planned $20 billion for the 4,800 megawatt (MW) plant, part of Erdogan's "2023 vision" marking 100 years since the founding of modern Turkey and meant to reduce Turkey's dependence on energy imports.

At present, there are 450 nuclear power plants in 31 countries, while 55 plants are under construction around the world.

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