Lee will meet with President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his four-day visit from Feb. 4-7 to discuss ways to expand trade ties and infrastructure construction, among other issues, the Korea Times reported on Monday, citing a statement from Lee's office. The two sides could also discuss a nuclear power plant construction project in Turkey, the report said.
Turkey plans to build two power plants, one in Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast and another in Sinop on the Black Sea coast. Having agreed with Russia on the construction of Akkuyu power plant, Turkey had talks with Japan to reach an agreement on building a second nuclear power plant on the Black Sea coast, but the talks were suspended after a nuclear power accident in Japan in the wake of an earthquake-triggered tsunami in March of last year.
In 2010, South Korea and Turkey held intense negotiations on the $20 billion project to build four nuclear reactors on Turkey's Black Sea coast. But the negotiations were suspended after the sides failed to work out key differences.
Prospects emerged for resumption of these talks when Erdoğan asked South Korea to participate in the nuclear power plant project during a meeting with Lee on the sidelines of a G-20 summit in Cannes in November.
South Korea relies on nuclear plants for about 40 percent of its electricity needs. It has also been trying to export nuclear power plants since Korean firms won a massive contract in late 2009 to build four atomic power plants in the United Arab Emirates.
Lee is coming to Turkey as part of a week-long tour that also includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. He is expected to discuss diversifying oil imports in the face of US and European sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports. South Korea relies on Iran for 10 percent of its oil imports.