Putin attends groundbreaking ceremony for Turkey's first nuclear power plant

The leaders of Turkey and Russian Federation marked the official start of work to build Turkey's first nuclear power station on Tuesday, launching construction of the $20 billion Akkuyu plant in the southern province of Mersin.

Tomorrow, Putin will be in Ankara for a three-way summit with Erdogan and their Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani.

Construction site of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is seen during the groundbreaking ceremony in Mersin, Turkey April 3, 2018.

Turkey and Russian Federation have put aside their traditional rivalries and differences on regional issues to forge closer ties.

'In the name of God!' Erdogan said standing next to Putin at the presidential palace in Ankara before fireworks launched to mark the event.

At present, there are 450 nuclear power plants in 31 countries, while 55 plants are under construction around the world.

At a press conference in Ankara, Putin announced that Russian Federation would push forward its delivery dates for the S-400 defense systems, which have been due after a contract was signed between the two countries in December, despite objections from Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

The three leaders will discuss regional events, the ongoing war in Syria, and the relations between their countries.

Key Syrian regime backers Russian Federation and Iran have joined forces with rebel-supporting Turkey to push forward a peace process but also to ensure influence in Syria once the conflict ends.

"Of course, we discussed the cooperation between Russian Federation and Turkey in the defence industry".

He highlighted that Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant would be a symbol of the Turkish-Russian friendship.

"Companies are working on it", Putin said. TWF's mission is to develop Turkey's strategic assets, to grow their value and thereby to provide funding for Turkey's priority investments.

Erdogan declared: "We are witnessing a historic moment".

Once fully operational by 2025, the NPP is expected to produce 35 billion kilowatts of electricity, or 10 percent of the country's electricity needs.

This will be the first such object to be built in Turkey.

Half of the offshore section of the pipeline has already been installed.

The Turkish leader spoke of "attempts to poison Turkish-Russian cooperation" and added: "Thank God our relations navigated these hard tests with success".