ANKARA – Türkiye is seeking foreign investment and assistance for the construction of its second and third nuclear power plants amid efforts to wean itself from costly energy imports, officials said.

Since the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a third term in late May, several high-ranking officials have made statements about Ankara’s efforts toward energy independence.

Türkiye is in contact with Russia and the Republic of Korea for its planned second plant and China for a third one, Salih Sari, the head of nuclear infrastructure at the energy ministry, told a local nuclear industry conference in late June in Istanbul, semi-official Anadolu Agency reported.

The country plans to build a second nuclear power plant in the northern province of Sinop and a third one in the northwestern province of Kirklareli, according to Sari.

“We are even pressing ahead with site surveys for a fourth nuclear plant project… Türkiye needs 20 gigawatts of nuclear power generation capacity for its 2053 climate goals,” the Turkish energy official said.

Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant, built by Russia’s Rosatom in the southern Mediterranean region of Mersin, will become operational next year. It is expected to provide about 10 percent of the country’s electricity needs when fully operational.

Mithat Rende, an Ankara-based energy analyst, warned of Türkiye’s dependence on Russia in the field of energy despite the volume that had started to decline in the past years, during which Türkiye has seen important discoveries of natural gas reserves.

“Everyone is now more careful. Nobody wants to be solely dependent on a single source or a single country. This is why domestic energy sources have become all the more important,” Rende said.

For Arif Akturk, another energy expert based in Ankara, Türkiye’s economic woes are posing serious obstacles to its further investments in the offshore gas fields.

“In order to be more independent on energy, considerable amounts of investments have to be made, but considering Türkiye’s finances, this is a challenge,” he said.

On Sunday, Türkiye’s new Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar told reporters that Ankara is also negotiating with the United States and Britain on installing modular nuclear facilities in the country.

“Today, we import almost 70 percent of primary energy sources. Türkiye is 92 percent foreign-dependent when it comes to crude oil. We import 99 percent of natural gas,” Bayraktar was quoted by Türkiye’s Daily Sabah as saying.

Türkiye is considering to invest USD200 billion in the energy sector by 2035, particularly in renewables such as wind and solar projects, as part of the country’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2053, according to the minister. (Xinhua)