War and chaos to cut Turkish overseas work in half this year

The value of construction projects undertaken by Turkish contractors abroad could be cut in half this year compared to 2013 figures thanks to conflict in the Middle East and North Africa and geopolitical tensions, a trade body said this week.

Regional political instability could see the value of Turkish construction projects abroad slump to $15bn in 2016, down from more than $30bn three years ago, according to the Turkish Contractors Association (TMB).

Thirty-five percent of the Turkish construction sector’s workload comes from Iraq, Libya and Russia, TMB President Mithat Yenigün told newspaper Today’s Zaman yesterday.

He added that the association’s 142 members have looked to compensate for losses arising from these politically volatile countries by expanding to markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Iran would be another target for business following the lifting of international sanctions on the neighbouring country, he said.

The TMB said the project volume for Turkish contractors worldwide steadily declined from 2013 to $26.8bn in 2014 and to $19bn in 2015.

Contractors were failing to collect debts owed by local partners in Iraq and Libya due to conflict there, he said.

Turkish companies were banned from taking on new work in Russia on 1 January.

Relations between the two countries soured dramatically after Turkish forces shot down a Russian fighter jet involved in the Syrian war on 24 November.

Russia had been a key growth market for Turkish construction services in 2013, a year that saw revenues from overseas work jump by $5.2bn from the year before.

Turkish construction firms won 47 projects amounting to some $3.9bn last year, Today’s Zaman reported.

Photograph: Russia’s new Moscow International Business Centre, where a number of towers were built by Turkey’s biggest contractors (Wikimedia Commons)

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