Turkish and Israeli authorities are expected to come together in the South Korean capital, which is set to host the Nuclear Security Summit on March 26-27, amidst diplomatic tension between the two countries.
Turkish-Israeli relations were strained following the murder of nine activists onboard a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla by Israeli soldiers that took place in international waters on May 31, 2010. Turkish officials insist on an apology from Israel for its bloody raid as a condition for repairing diplomatic ties. Israel refuses to comply.
In an interview with Today's Zaman, South Korean Ambassador Lee Sangkyu said the Korean authorities expect to see Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the nuclear summit in Seoul. Lee said Israeli officials have also been invited to the meeting, although it remains unclear who will be representing the country at the summit.
US President Barack Obama, along with representatives from roughly 50 countries, is expected to be in attendance. The 2010 Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington.
According to Lee, the summit aims to coordinate nuclear security and prevent terrorists from obtaining access to nuclear technology. The primary objective of the summit is to eliminate nuclear weapons around the globe. The Korean ambassador has said he thinks Turkey has an important role to play in developing a world free of nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, Korean authorities are waiting for an offer to be made by Turkey for the construction of a nuclear power plant along the Black Sea coast by Korean firms. Korea missed an opportunity to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant on the southern coast when Turkey signed a deal with the Russians in 2010. Lee confirmed that Turkey and Korea are not currently negotiating over the construction of a nuclear power plant since the details of the project are not yet known, adding, “We would like to learn the conditions and discuss them.”
“Korea has always been interested in nuclear power plants in Turkey and this has not changed. However, we could not agree on the conditions of the first one. The conditions for the new plant are not definite yet. That is why we are not negotiating. We are ready to hear Turkey's offer,” he noted.