Kingmaker in North Cyprus demands nixing of tender

Kingmaker in North Cyprus demands nixing of tender

Ömer Bilge - Hürriyet / NICOSIA
Kingmaker in North Cyprus demands nixing of tender

The privatization tender of the Ercan Airport was won last year by a consortium for 650 million euros. The key personality of the latest elections in the territory is now calling for the cancellation of the tender. DHA photo

The 650 million-euro privatization of Turkish Cyprus’ Ercan Airport could face cancelation due to opposition from Serdar Denktaş, the leader of the Democrat Party, who is likely to play a key role in any coalition government in the territory, as daily Hürriyet reported.

Denktaş said Aug. 3 that Taşyapı, the construction company which led the consortium that won the tender, would either abandon the tender through negotiations with the government or through legal proceedings.

But Emrullah Turanlı, the head of the company, said they won the tender in transparent conditions. “We wanted to see seriousness from the Turkish Cypriot government.”

The tender included the investment of 650 million euros in Ercan Airport and includes the construction of a new terminal building, a hotel, a commercial area, 62 check-in desks, 24 passport control points, a basement car park, a 756-lot open-air car park and other amenities. Denktaş made promises to
cancel the airport tender during the election period, claiming that the privatization tender was corrupt.

“The company will go either of their own will or via lawful enforcement. It is that clear… We’ll seek a coalition partner who thinks in line with us about the airport tender. If our potential coalition partner refuses to take action against the company, we’ll resign,” Denktaş said.

Biggest tender

Turanlı said they could not understand why such discussions had now emerged.

“I believe Turkish Cyprus has everything that a serious state has. The state of the Turkish Cyprus initiated a privatization tender for Ercan Airport last year, and we won the tender by giving the best price with our two partners. If the courts want to cancel the tender by paying our money and  compensating for our losses, that’s OK for us. Otherwise we’ll be so sad,” he said.

The tender for the privatization of Ercan Airport was seen as the biggest in Turkish Cyprus’ history. The winning consortium, which includes the Terminal Group and Kaner, as well as Taşyapı, promises to make direct investments of 350 million euros and to give the state 300 million euros for the 25-year lease.