Turkey, Too, Has Nuclear Ambitions

Turkey’s first particle accelerator facility which PM Erdogan claims is intended to diminish dependence on external markets opened yesterday

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s first particle accelerator facility, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims will serve the health sector and aims to diminish dependence on external markets, opened yesterday near Ankara by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK), reported The Hurriyet Daily News.

“This facility will serve as the hub of nuclear technology as we are preparing to generate nuclear energy,” Erdogan said during the facility’s opening ceremony, adding that research on nuclear physics, electronics and space studies will be carried out in the facility.

Turkey has expressed commitment to building two nuclear plants by 2023, in a move the Turkish leader claims is intended to lessen its dependence on carbon fuels and generate cheaper electricity.

“In 10 years, the consumption of electricity will be doubled. Unfortunately, parallel to the increase of our energy consumption, energy prices are rising. That’s why we prefer nuclear plants,” he asserted.  

The Turkish Prime Minister states that the proton accelerator facility will be used mainly to produce equipment needed in nuclear medicine, such as magnetic resonance imaging and tomography, which Turkey spends $10 million annually to import. “Hereafter, we will be able to produce these equipments in our own facility,” he added. 

The accelerator technology is one of the significant generic technologies and has a leading role in scientific studies ranging from biology to metallurgy. 

However, Erdogan’s claims regarding Turkey’s peaceful nuclear ambitions remain doubtful, at best, as the Turkish leader has criticized the international community for singling out Iran on nuclear issues.

According to Erdoğan, every country has the right to have nuclear energy facilities. “You have to be fair. You will overlook the insecure plants in Armenia, Israel’s nuclear activities but you will spark crisis over Iran. This is not fair.”