Time for the construction sector to question itself

Time for the construction sector to question itself

It has been a media tradition for years to prepare a balance sheet of the Eid al-Fitr holidays. The focus of the balance sheet usually falls on two topics: tourism boost and traffic accidents.

Let’s start with the good news regarding the economy. This year throughout the five-day holiday about 15 million people hit the road and spent 7.5 billion Turkish Liras.

Especially hotels in the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts were packed and certain beaches in Fethiye Ölü Deniz opted not to accept new customers.

According to information coming from tourism sources yesterday, the number of national and international tourists in Bodrum reached 2 million and in Antalya 2.5 million.

Based on these data, the holiday mood dominating the tourism front is quite normal.

Bad news is coming from the traffic, as it does every year. The outcome of five days is 64 dead, 511 injured.

After making this introduction on vacation statistics, I want to mention another major balance sheet and the sector related to it.

Before the holiday, the death report of laborers issued by the Assembly of Istanbul Occupational Health and Safety for the month of July was quite striking.

According to the report, in the month of July, 120 workers, eight of them minors, have their lives. The youngest worker to die was Gaziantep native Ökkeş Göğebakan, who was only 10 years old.

Turkey is a record-breaker in Europe in labor deaths and in third place in the world. Those sectors that have the highest workers’ deaths are construction and agriculture.

An analysis regarding the construction sector, which is one of the leading sectors of the economy, arrived at my desk at the same time as the labor deaths report.

There is an expression in the “Analysis of the Construction Sector” July report of the Turkish Contractors Association, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary: “The growth of the construction sector, the mega projects that will change the face of Turkey are exciting.”

I was able to learn, thanks to the report in question, that the total financial size of the 21 “mega projects” exceeds 138 billion dollars, and it is more than the total of national incomes of 130 countries.
I have, at every opportunity, expressed that such “mega projects” regarding Istanbul such as the third airport, the third bridge and Kanal İstanbul do not quite excite certain segments, including me, who have environmental sensitivity; on the contrary, they make us highly anxious.

If we go back to the report issued by Turkish Contractors Association, the construction sector grew by 5.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period the previous year. In Istanbul alone in the first quarter of 2013 58,682 houses and apartments were sold.

International contracting data have also been included in the report, and it has been highlighted that the success graphic was continuously rising.

Turkish contractors have undertaken a total of 461 new projects worth 27.2 billion dollars in 46 countries in 2012.

Despite the global crisis, it is no doubt pleasing that Turkish contractors have such achievements.

Among the projects Turkish contractors have undertaken in 2013 are such projects as Ashgabat Airport, Baku Olympic Stadium, Copper Processing Plant in Kazakhstan and a port in Kuwait.