ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Russia’s National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) has canceled planned training programs with four Turkish universities, which had been part of a multibillion nuclear power plant development deal between the countries that is now under threat following Turkey’s Nov. 24 downing of the Russian jet.
Ankara University had a direct deal for raising the manpower for Turkey’s first planned nuclear plant, Akkuyu, in the southern province of Mersin, while Hacettepe University and Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) had separate deals in the educational, scientific and social fields.
Niyazi Meriç, the head of the Ankara University Nuclear Sciences Institute, told Anadolu Agency that his school and MEPhI had signed a deal on April 13 to offer exchange and double masters degrees to their students.
As part of the deal, the students would have studied for six months in Ankara before spending one year at Moscow’s MEPhI. Some 1,000 engineers who to work at Akkuyu would have been educated in both countries, Meriç said, adding that the university would now be looking for new partners in nuclear education.
Tension between Moscow and Ankara has been high since Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian warplane on Nov. 24 for violating Turkey’s border with Syria. Since then, Russia has announced a raft of economic sanctions on Turkey and cancelled many joint projects, but Akkuyu has not been officially halted.