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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turks break ground

In a first for Moscow, Turkey has begun building a new embassy in the heart of the capital with ownership rights and full independence in construction.

Turkish diplomats, the Moscow city government and a Turkish construction company started laying the foundation at a ceremony Saturday marking the end of a long hunt for a site.

"Our mission in Moscow is growing", said the Turkish ambassador, Volkan Vural. "The old embassy is too small; we never viewed it as permanent".

The new building is located on Rostovsky Pereulok, down the street from the Russian Foreign Ministry on the banks of the Moscow River. With 16, 500 square meters of space, it is being constructed at an estimated cost of $14, 750, 000 and will house diplomatic offices and residences.

The Turkish Embassy, which contracted with the Turkish construction company Alarko, was the first diplomatic mission in Moscow to be given permission to act independently, the ambassador said.

"Independent ownership is beneficial to us", said Sevki Mutevellioglu, an embassy official who negotiated with Moscow's deputy mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, and UPDK, the administration responsible for the diplomatic corps, to terminate the lease on the current embassy.

The site was granted in September in exchange for approval by Turkey for the reconstruction of the Russian Embassy in Ankara. The new embassy is scheduled for completion in July 1993.