by Staff Writers
Istanbul (AFP) Jan 16, 2013
Turkey and France have agreed to resume talks on civilian nuclear energy at a time Ankara plans to build three plants within the next five years, French Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said on Wednesday.
"We met the (energy) minister to discuss Turkey's important projects in nuclear facilities," said Bricq after a meeting with Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. "France claims excellence in this field...so it is only natural that we have these discussions."
She said: "We want Turkey to be equipped with the best and most secure technology and we can do it."
Yildiz said that Turkey was aware of French nuclear technology and a series of talks would be held to develop cooperation, which had stalled amid chilly ties between the nations.
"Some important issues such as nuclear cannot be developed independently of international issues," Yildiz said.
For the last 10 years, diplomatic relations between Paris and Ankara have experienced several crises, fuelled in particular by a French bill criminalising denial of genocide in Armenian, vehemently denied by Ankara.
The tensions hit the interests of the French businesses in Turkey, particularly in obtaining big state contracts.
On Tuesday, Bricq said that her first visit to Turkey on behalf of the government was a "political signal" from the new French President Francois Hollande to develop closer ties, after strained relations between his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkey.
Atmea, a joint venture owned by the French nuclear power group Areva and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has recently signalled its intention to bid to build the third plant.
Turkey is planning to build three nuclear power plants in the next five years to reduce its dependence on foreign energy sources.
It struck the first deal with Russia in 2010 to build the first power plant at Akkuyu in the southern Mersin province.
China, Japan, South Korea and Canada are competing to win the Turkish tender for the second plant, to be built near the Black Sea city of Sinop.
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