Council of Europe requests Turkey to consult neighbours for Akkuyu nuclear plant

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expressed on Thursday deep concern at the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in an earthquake-prone region of Turkey only 85 kilometres from the border with Cyprus.

In a resolution it adopted, the assembly said that Turkey’s first nuclear plant being constructed as a joint Turkish-Russian project is in very close proximity to the other neighbouring countries.

The assembly asked Turkey to join the UN Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, also known as the Espoo Convention, and to take into account all concerns expressed, including those expressed by Turkish citizens.

The Espoo Convention, adopted in 1991, sets out the obligations of parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of states to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries

The assembly also requested from the Turkish government to consult with neighbouring countries on the construction of the nuclear plant according to the International Convention on Nuclear Safety.

The construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant located in the southern province of Mersin was kicked off by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Apr. 3.

The nuclear plant "raises concerns for a possible impact in terms of safety because such a power plant in this area affects our country much more than the largest part of the Turkish territory,” said the Cypriot government’s spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, following the groundbreaking ceremony in Mersin. 

"Turkey did not take into account the grave reservations expressed by various quarters, nor did it heed the European Parliament's call to terminate the construction plans since this is a seismologically vulnerable area,” he said.

Environmentalists in Turkey are also concerned about the potentially destructive ecological consequences of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and several organisations form Mersin filed a lawsuit to stop its construction.