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Türkiye calls for nuclear safety measures, regional denuclearization

Turkish foreign minister on Thursday urged nuclear safety measures and regional denuclearization at the first Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels, expressing concerns over the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Addressing the summit hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Belgium in Brussels, Hakan Fidan underscored the critical need for enhanced nuclear safety measures and reiterated Türkiye’s commitment to regional denuclearization efforts.

“The summit constitutes a turning point concerning the future of civil nuclear energy,” he said.

Highlighting Türkiye’s ambitious energy strategy, Fidan outlined the nation’s transition towards clean energy and its significant contribution to energy security and climate change mitigation.

“Türkiye has already been implementing a solid energy route and source diversification strategy with an ambitious clean energy transition agenda,” he said.

Emphasizing Türkiye’s effort in the civil nuclear arena, Fidan said: “The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is our flagship project. Once fully operational, it will meet 10% of our electricity demand.”

Addressing the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant situation, Fidan expressed serious concern, citing Türkiye’s experience with the Chornobyl disaster.

Referring to the Chornobyl disaster, he said: “We simply cannot afford another one. Türkiye has undertaken several initiatives to avert a dreadful episode in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia city.”

Fidan pledged Ankara’s support for initiatives aimed at averting a potential catastrophe at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and endorsed the IAEA director general’s efforts in addressing the issue.

Condemning “the use or threat of using nuclear weapons,” he said that rhetoric surrounding “nuclear weapons casts a shadow on our common pursuit for a secure and energy-wise clean future.”

He identified the Middle East as “the most stressful region” in this context, citing the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Israeli officials’ comments on nuclear weapons.

“While the carnage in Gaza goes on, Israeli officials’ narrative on nuclear weapons cannot be simply shrugged off as reckless,” he said.

“Türkiye, therefore, reiterates its call for denuclearizing the region to avoid a possible nuclear arms race,” he added.

Fidan expressed gratitude to Belgium and the IAEA for organizing the sum