Category Archives: Turkey

Islamist run Turkey Rushes To Nuclear Power After Iran Deal

So it begins.. by Ivan Plis

A ceremony Tuesday launched construction on Turkey’s first-ever nuclear power plant, a move ostensibly aimed at increasing the country’s energy independence and boosting its economy.

Amid protests, Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Akkuyu Nuclear Plant featured Turkish officials as well as representatives of Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear agency. Rosatom will build the plant, a role it also played with Iran’s first nuclear energy facility.

Despite Tuesday’s ceremony, construction is not anticipated to start in earnest until the end of 2016. And just weeks ago, Reuters reported that the Akkuyu project is “unlikely to be ready before 2022.”

The ceremony came while Middle Eastern countries responded to a pending deal between the U.S. and Iran on that country’s nuclear energy program. Skeptics of the deal have warned that any open door to an Iranian nuclear weapon would provoke sudden and rapid nuclear proliferation throughout the region. Besides Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have also made recent steps toward refining nuclear material. (RELATED: What Would A Middle East Nuclear Arms Race Look Like?)

Energy imports cost Turkey billions of dollars per year, and sinking oil prices may have encouraged Russian participation in the $20 billion deal. But Turkey is also wary of signs that its rival Iran, a key player in the regional energy market, may see an eventual pathway to military-grade nuclear enrichment. (RELATED: 5 Ways The Iran Deal Could Go Sour, And One Sign Of Hope)

Speaking at Tuesday’s ceremony, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that “Development cannot happen in a country without nuclear energy,” according to Agence France-Presse.

Critics of the project on the Mediterranean coast compare its risks to Japan’s 2011 Fukishima power plant disaster, saying that its proximity to a tectonic fault line may trigger an accident during the plant’s lifetime. Turkish officials have dismissed these concerns.

Environmental activists protested Tuesday’s ceremony by locking the site’s gates, effectively trapping participants in the ceremony for about 20 minutes before police dispersed them with water cannons.

Turkey journalists face 4.5 years jail over Charlie Hebdo cartoon



Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday called for two prominent journalists who featured Charlie Hebdo’s cover with the image of the Prophet Mohammed in their columns to be jailed for four and a half years.

Istanbul’s chief public prosecutor has charged Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya with “inciting public hatred” and “insulting religious values” by illustrating their columns with the cartoon, the Hurriyet daily reported.

The cartoon was a smaller version of the controversial front cover depicting the Prophet Mohammed that French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo printed in its first edition after the attack on its offices by Islamist gunmen in January that killed 12 people.

The cartoon angered Muslims all over the world and most media in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey refrained from publishing it.

Turkish daily Cumhuriyet on January 14 had published a four-page Charlie Hebdo pull-out translated into Turkish marking the French satirical weekly’s first issue since the attack.

The edition did not include the controversial front cover of the Prophet Mohammed but a smaller version of the cartoon was included twice inside the newspaper to illustrate columns on the subject by Karan and Cetinkaya.


Prosecutors had announced the day after the publication of the issue that they had opened an investigation into the two columnists.

The case, based on a 38-page indictment and complaints by 1,280 individuals, has now been submitted to the criminal court ahead of trial, Hurriyet said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had condemned the publication of cartoons of the Muslim prophet as an “open provocation”, warning that Turkey would not tolerate insults against Mohammed.

There has been growing concern about the numbers of journalists currently facing legal proceedings in Turkey, many on accusations of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Cumhuriyet daily, which sees itself as the voice of secular Turkey, is a vehement opponent of the Islamic-rooted authorities under Erdogan.