News / Middle East

Turkish Businesses Look for Improved Ties With Libya

Cranes operate at the site of the football stadium in Benghazi, Libya, Jan. 19, 2013.Cranes operate at the site of the football stadium in Benghazi, Libya, Jan. 19, 2013.
x
Cranes operate at the site of the football stadium in Benghazi, Libya, Jan. 19, 2013.
Cranes operate at the site of the football stadium in Benghazi, Libya, Jan. 19, 2013.
Turkish businesses have been lobbying for almost a year to receive compensation for work they had to abandon during the uprising that ousted former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Now it seems their efforts are going to be rewarded as Libya and Turkey move to improve political and economic ties, reflecting Turkey’s increasing clout in the region.
 
Turkish businessmen have been prowling the halls of Libyan ministries and patrolling the marble-floored corridors of Tripoli’s five-star hotels for months to find people who can help get them paid what they are owed for contracts abandoned during the revolution.

Until recently their efforts had not met with much success. The new government has been struggling to solve bigger immediate challenges than reimbursing Turks. But on a recent visit to Turkey, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan pledged to slash through the red tape.

As Libya seeks to rebuild, Turkish companies will play a big role - if for no other reason than cost. Turkish firms can do the work for less than their European rivals, said Libyan lawmaker Abdurahman Al-Shater.

“The advantage of the Turks is not political influence, it is price-wise, the Turkish contractors in the price and the quality much cheaper than if you compare it with UK companies or France or Italy or Greece,” said Al-Shater.

More than 3,000 Turkish nationals evacuated Libya in February 2011, and the debt owed to about 100 Turkish firms is estimated at $20 million. The Ankara government has mounted a concerted campaign to get its businessmen, mostly in the construction sector, to be paid ahead of those from other countries.

And it seems to have worked.

About half the outstanding contract payments owed to Turkish firms will be forthcoming in weeks, with some compensation for breach of contract [restitution] paid, as well. But to get the money, Turkish firms will have to begin work again on the abandoned projects.

Libyan-Turkish trade last year stood at around $2.5 billion and Turkish firms are eager to see that grow. At last year’s Libya-Build exhibition, more than 400 of the 800 foreign companies participating were Turkish.
 
The debt settlement is a reflection of Turkey’s growing political clout in the region. Since the Arab Spring uprisings, Turkey has been pursuing an ambitious foreign policy and Turkey’s construction sector is positioning itself as a key player in rebuilding the region’s post-conflict economies.

Richard Griffiths, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Libya, does not agree entirely with lawmaker Shater’s view that there are no politics involved.

“Certainly with the Turks it is a mixture of the two. They have found what I believe is the perfect the combination of political support, which is not too overbearing, and also the effort which I, of course, would like to see from the US companies that they are very much here, engaged and present," said Griffiths. "When there is a delegation or trade show or event you will always find the largest group are the Turks and frankly they are the ones who are reaping the rewards for it.”

For many Libyans there is a natural affinity with Turkey. Islamist modernizers see Turkey as a model: a modern, commercially successful democratic Muslim state.

And for Libyans who fear the growing interest of Gulf countries with a tendency to involve themselves in Libya’s internal politics, Turkey is a useful counter-weight.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More