Nuclear energy is a must for Turkey especially because its energy demand grows more than any other European country, the International Energy Agency's chief economist Fatih Birol told Anadolu Agency in Doha.

"Nuclear energy is one of the rare zero-carbon emission energy form and it is an indispensable option for Turkey, considering its regional and global gravity," Birol said, adding: "It is a must for Turkey"

At the moment, Turkey relies heavily on expensive natural gas exports from Russia and Iran for its domestic electricity production. The country strives to decrease this dependence by increasing its renewable energy resources and plans to construct at least three nuclear power plants.

Birol highlighted the important of renewable energy resources along with the nuclear plants to meet the domestic demand.

" Turkey faces the most rapid increase in energy demand among European countries, so we must utilize not only renewable energy but alsonuclear energy. We must use all these and consider their cost burden on the economy," he said.

Turkey's energy demand is constantly increasing daily because of its industrial growth, rising population and general economic boost in the country.

Turkey's energy sector is also investing heavily to meet the demand. Turkey has already doubled its installed capacity since 2001, and in 2014 alone, the country consumed more than 255 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, while the installed capacity was more than 70,000 megawatts.

- Turkey's nuclear plans

Early May, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that six nuclear power plant units were being planned to provide 9.6 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2026.

The construction Turkey's first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu NPP, which is located in the Mediterranean coast of the country will begin in 2016. It is a joint venture between Turkey and Russia agreed in 2010. Russia's Rosatom will finance, build and run the $22 billion plant which will have a life cycle of 60 years.

Akkuyu will generate 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and provide more than 10 percent of Turkey's demand for electricity. The first reactor of the plant is estimated to be operational by 2019. The other planned three reactors are due to become fully operational by 2023.

Turkey's Energy Ministry has sent hundreds of university students to Russia to study nuclear engineering, who will then be hired at the Akkuyu plant and will form the basis for human resources at other nuclear projects.

For a second nuclear plant project in northern Turkey, the country will cooperate with Japan and France, of which the construction is scheduled to start in 2017 and will produce 40 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year with its four reactors.

Anadolu Agency