Akkuyu: My Nuclear Plant?
Agaoglu Construction is a household name in Turkey due to both their gargantuan residence complexes -most of them monstrous specimens built with over-the-top nouveau-riche aesthetics,
and their Chairman Ali Agaoglu, a flamboyant but crass businessman known as the “Turkish Trump”, with close relationships to Erdogan and the Turkish government at-large.
Mr. Agaoglu met with Mr. Erdogan at his presidential complex this week. Agaoglu Group CEO Hasan Rahvali said Agaoglu briefed the president on his views about the construction and energy sectors. It is very conceivable that the president asked for the real-estate developer’s input regarding the recent slump in the construction and real estate markets. The Turkish construction boom of the last decade seems to have come to an abrupt end with unfinished mega-projects and those that are completed but lying idly. Most recent examples of the sectoral crisis are Dogus Holding putting their highly profitable Istinye Park AVM on the market and Global Investments announcing the sale of all their real estate investments.
What is more interesting about the tete-a-tete is the mention of the energy sector. Granted, Agaoglu is no stranger the industry. Agaoglu Energy Group has sizeable investments in wind turbine plants having committed as much as $1.5 billion dollars until 2020. Coincidentally, there were developments regarding the plans for Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant on and around the same day. Vice President of Operations for the project, Konstantin Ryzhak said that they were waiting for the final licenses from the Turkish Atomic Energy commissions to go ahead with the construction. According to Ryzhak, the latest stages of planning are almost ready, and the consortium is planning to start construction at the end of March.
There is a problem though!
The Turkish consortium who were looking to obtain the shares of 49% of the plant (known as CKK ), have decided to pull out their bid in February, and as a result Rosatom has no local partner for the project for the time being. The company has decided to wait until groundbreaking to actively look for a Turkish shareholder. Now that the date is set for the construction to begin which is beginning of April, and both Putin and Erdogan are scheduled to attend the sod-cutting ceremony, one can’t help but wonder whether Agaoglu will be involved -particularly considering the timing of his recent meeting with Erdogan.
Ali Agaoglu famously adds the “my” prefix to most of his projects -My Mountain, My World, My Towerland, My Town are typical names, and we may soon Akkuyu NPP’s name changed to My Nuclear Plant. Why not? Stranger things have happened.