It was rather strange hearing the indignant statements issued by political parties about the construction of the nuclear power plant in Akkuyu in southern Turkey. Had the politicians and newspapers run out of things regarding Turkey to get angry about? Phileleftheros turned these statements into a scaremongering report, under the headline ‘Terror over Cyprus because of Akkuyu’.
The main concerns of the terror-stricken parties were that the power plant would be in an earthquake area, there would be an increased risk of terrorist attacks, Turkey did not have the scientific know-how to run such a plant, there would be serious consequences for the environment and the possibility of an accident would put at risk thousands of lives. Disy MEP Lefteris Christoforou wrote to the European Commission protesting that Turkey was ‘building this power station, as close as possible to Cyprus, despite the strong objections of the Cyprus Republic, a member-state of the EU’.
Was there ever even a chance in a million that Turkey would have sought the approval of the Cyprus Republic or the Commission to construct a nuclear power station? It can build it anywhere it chooses without seeking anyone’s approval, something that even Greek Cypriot politicians are fully aware of. They also know that all safety precautions will be taken, there will be tight security and the power station will be run by people with scientific know-how and expertise, because the first people that would suffer from the devastating consequences of any accident would be Turks.
The political furore intensified after an academic at the Cyprus Institute was quoted as saying that Cyprus was in the ‘highest-risk zone’ and would be directly affected in the event of an accident at the station. Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou was also obliged to join the debate, the government not wanting to be seen doing nothing. The Republic will take all necessary steps and make representations ‘in every direction’ about the Akkuyu power station he said.
Will any representations or demarches be made to the Russian government, which will set up the nuclear power plant, provide all the scientific expertise and the $20 billion funding? Predictably, there was no mention of Russia in the protests of the politicians. Bizarrely MEP Christoforou wrote to the Commission to protest about the power station instead of the government of Russia, which will set it up. Everyone seemed to ignore the fact it was thanks to Russia the nuclear power station they are terrified of will become a reality. Had they not seen pictures of President Putin by President Erdogan’s side in Akkuyu at Tuesday’s ceremony marking the start of the project?
Do the government and the parties seriously believe that they will be able to stop the construction of the nuclear plant in Akkuyu through letters and representations ‘in every direction’ or is this just theatre? We hope it is the latter because it would be very worrying if they were so naïve to think they could stop a $20 billion project aimed at further strengthening Russia-Turkey ties.