Parties blame each other for marooned builders
Kadyrov, head of of the autonomous Chechnya says Bora İnşaat must compensate salaries of Turkish construction workers stranded in his country and pay its debt.Alper Suri, the owner of the construction company Bora İnşaat who was responsible for abandoning over 600 Turkish construction workers in Chechnya without pay, and Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov blame each other for the company’s bankruptcy and the subsequent fate of the construction workers.
“I trusted the Chechens and made an investment. Then I went bankrupt,” said Suri in an interview with daily Radikal. Suri claims Chechen authorities seized five of his factories, all his construction sites and 205 pieces of machinery. Suri said he owed $8 million in debt to Turkey and another $16.5 million to Chechnya.
“Some of our construction sites were flooded four times, and we could not continue with construction. I have $37 million owed to me,” said Suri.
Suri claims he does not have any assets in Turkey or anywhere else. Furthermore, Suri told Radikal he was prepared to write a letter to Russian Prime Minister Putin if needed.
Meanwhile, Kadyrov told daily Hürriyet in an interview Suri was unable to finish the construction projects he had promised to complete.
“He left me in an awkward position vis a vis my people. If he comes back and pays his debts, then I am ready to forgive him,” said Kadyrov.
“Suri came to Chechnya without a cent. I gave him a 10 million euro loan. I told him to sell his villa and apartments in Turkey and repay his debts both to the market and his workers. Then I told him I would return his construction sites,” said Kadyrov. Like Suri, Kadyrov is prepared to escalate the matter by threatening legal action.
Construction workers caught in the middle
The Turkish construction workers, however, are caught in the middle.
“I am in debt now, thanks to Suri. The workers I brought want their wages up front,” said Şakir Artış, the general foreman for Bora İnşaat. “Suri was too ambitious, and as a result we had to bear the burden.”
Fifty-five construction workers are still stranded in Chechnya due to visa problems. The workers who were lucky enough to return to Turkey have been forced to pay the $500 visa fee and the cost of their airfare, Radikal reported.
Suri entered Chechnya for the first time in 2008 and worked at 53 different construction sites. He established five small-scale factories and received the Chechen medal for superior service from Chechen President Kadyrov, according to Radikal.