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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid