Turkey ‘needs $200-billion transport investment’

Turkey ‘needs $200-billion transport investment’

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Turkey ‘needs $200-billion transport investment’

Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım [center] attended the opening ceremony of the Great Anatolian Logistics Organization project yesterday. AA photo

Turkey should successfully realize infrastructure investments worth $200 billion within the next 10 years in order to meet the needs of its meant-to-grow trade, the transport minister has said.

“Turkey will have a $1.2 trillion foreign trade volume within 10 years. It needs new highways, railways and airports for this,” Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said on the final day of the three-day Transportation, Maritime and Communication Council. 

According to Yıldırım, Turkey’s ambitious trade and growth targets make the $200 million-worth infrastructure investments a must, and require a doubling of the investments made up to today.

Transport and infrastructure projects make up the core of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s economic development plans and have been seen as the key for reinforcing the country’s position as a hub of regional trade.

The government will undertake around $120 billion of these investments at the issue, while the remaining $80 billion will be carried out through the Build-Operate-Transfer model or private-public partnerships, Yıldırım said.

Between 2003 and 2012, the total cost of projects implemented through the cooperation of public and private actors amounted to $68 million, according to the World Bank’s Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) website.

When Turkey’s largest PPP project up to today is added, the $29 billion-worth third Istanbul airport project, which was tendered this year, the number rises considerably.

In his remarks, over the weekend, Yıldırım introduced an even more ambitious plan.

He stressed that the government was mulling the generation of solar power in space and transporting this power to earth through radio waves by 2035. He said they were first planning to launch a locally manufactured satellite into orbit in 2018.

Council urges for barriers’ lift

The country’s top transportation officials and academics, as well as 14 international foreign ministers and 10 foreign deputy ministers convened in Istanbul between Sept. 5 and 7 to discuss Turkey’s transport and communication challenges and successes, and to further shape the country’s 2023 and 2035 objectives.

The council agreed on the necessity for the speedy elimination of all barriers to deepened communication and transport, Yıldırım said.

“Goods and service should be able to circulate freely. It’s no use for world peace to delay these through visa obstacles,” he added.

A 3,500-page document and a 500-page conclusion report on the council’s work has been prepared with the collaboration of universities, and private and public actors.