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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora