27 January 2008
Turkey to go nuclear as Bush pushes Turkish-US nuclear cooperation agreement
U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday submitted a cooperation agreement between the United States and Turkey concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy to the U.S. Congress, saying that private-sector proliferation worries have been addressed.
The July 2000 agreement, signed by then-US president Bill Clinton, is expected to clear the way for transfers of nuclear know-how to Turkey's planned civilian atomic sector.
According to a statement released by the White House, Bush said in his message to lawmakers, "In my judgment, entry into force of the Agreement will serve as a strong incentive for Turkey to continue its support for nonproliferation objectives and enact future sound nonproliferation policies and practices."
"It will also promote closer political and economic ties with a NATO ally, and provide the necessary legal framework for US industry to make nuclear exports to Turkey's planned civil nuclear sector," he said.
Last week Turkish Energy & Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said that the government was resolute to go ahead with its nuclear energy project. The Turkish Energy Ministry is expected to publish the tender for the construction of the country's first nuclear power plant on January 21. Companies interested in the tender, which have already taken part in a series of informative meetings and whose number was 18 at the last meeting, will have to confirm their participation within this date. According to Turkish dailies, the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) has so far approved companies from the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, France and Russia. The tender should be closed by next June.
The New Anatolian / Ankara
25 January 2008