Bill for privatization of toll roads adopted by Turkish Parliament
The Parliament has approved a bill that includes Highways Code changes that are required for a scheme planned by the government for toll roads’ privatization.An amendment to the Highways Code that will enable the establishment of a legal corporation to pave the way for the public offering of toll roads and bridges has been approved by Parliament.
The draft was passed into law late Feb. 6, as part of an omnibus bill that also included the highly controversial Internet bill.
The code included changes necessary for the establishment of a company to which the General Directorate of Highways could transfer toll roads and bridges’ operational rights.
According to the planned scheme, 100 percent of the company’s shares will be owned by the Privatization Authority (ÖİB) for 30 years, after which company shares will go public.
Highways and bridges were sold in a December 2012 tender to a consortium of Koç Holding, the largest conglomerate in the country, Gözde Girişim with links to local food giant Yıldız Holding, and Malaysia’s UEM Group Berhad. The consortium was granted total rights to toll roads and their revenues, including the Edirne-Istanbul-Ankara Highway and the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges that connect the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, for 25 years.
However, the government announced the deal had been annulled a few weeks after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he expected a higher price to be offered, despite the fact that it was the second highest tender in Turkish history.