Libyan exclusion of Turkish companies ‘without value’: Turkish Foreign Ministry
AA PhotoLibya’s decision to exclude Turkish companies from contracts does not carry any value given the dispute over political legitimacy in the country, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has said.
“It’s thought-provoking that the interim government of Libya, which should be expected to make efforts for the prosperity of the Libyan people and to maintain stability, instead targets our companies that are working for the development of Libya and for the sake of the Libyan people,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said Feb. 24 in a written statement.
The Turkish government will continue to follow up on compensation for Turkish companies’ losses and attempt to recover debts, said the spokesperson.
Libya’s interim government decided to exclude Turkish companies from contracts, as Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni earlier accused Turkey of receiving officials from a rival government controlling western Libya.
Al-Thinni and the allied-elected parliament have been confined to a rump state in Tobruk since an armed group called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli, reinstated a previous assembly and set up a rival administration.
Last week, al-Thinni warned Turkey of possible measures which could be taken against Turkish companies due to what he described as Turkish “interference” in Libya’s affairs.
This interference, al-Thinni said at a press conference, “negatively impacts Libya’s security and stability.”
“So far, Turkey’s stance has not been correct and we will be forced to take measures against it. At the end of the day, Turkey will lose because Libya can deal with any other country, and Turkish firms are the ones who will lose their investments in Libya,” he said in an interview to Asharq Al-Awsat on Feb. 18.
The country’s Tripoli-based government, however, has dismissed the ban, saying such a prohibition could only be applied in the latter government’s area of control in the country’s east.
“The Tobruk government is using the issue of Turkish companies as a pressure tool to achieve political goals,” Omar Hussein Baio, a spokesman for the Tripoli government, told Anadolu Agency.
Turkish companies’ ongoing projects worth around $15 billion were halted in 2011, when some of the companies’ construction sites were raided, forcing workers to flee back to Turkey. Several Turkish companies have applied to international courts to receive compensation for their losses.
In its latest performance report, the Turkish Contractors Association (TMB) said the total value of the projects completed in 2014 was quite low compared to the last two years.