Public-private partnerships key to Turkey’s economy: Senior banker

Public-private partnerships key to Turkey’s economy: Senior banker

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Public-private partnerships key to Turkey’s economy: Senior banker

DHA photo

Increasing the number of public-private partnerships (PPPs) will be a key factor in developing Turkey’s economy, a senior official of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has said.

Hüseyin Özhan, who took up the post as the new head of the EBRD’s Ankara office on Nov. 16, told Anadolu Agency on Nov. 17 that developing Turkey’s infrastructure would depend on attracting private capital to new partnerships.

“Having been a banker for many years, I can say that Turkey has the chance to create the conditions in which private investment can find real opportunities for returns in these partnerships,” Özhan said.

A good example, he noted, was the construction and operation of a new domestic terminal at Dalaman airport in the southwestern Turkish province of Muğla under a public-private partnership scheme.

The bank has lent 175 million euros ($186.6 million) to YDA Airport Construction and Operation, a special-purpose company set up by the Turkish construction and infrastructure company YDA Construction, which was awarded the concession contract last year.

“To increase the development of PPPs the right regulatory and legal conditions are required, so that businesses see risk-controlled opportunities for safe returns,” he said. “We work in close cooperation with the Turkish government to help evolve these conditions.”

One of the European bank’s goals is to increase economic inclusion in Turkey, where youth unemployment is high and the number of women in the workforce is still relatively low, Özhan said.

“We will help financial institutions extend opportunities to women and young people who are often shut out of access to funding and loans,” he said.

“This is critical to Turkey’s development. Bringing in Turkey’s burgeoning young population into economic activity will go far to boost growth in the country.”

Being located in Ankara is a boon, Özhan said, because he will also spearhead projects in Central Anatolia. The European bank recently lent 100 million euros ($106.6 million) to Turkish Finansbank, to be disbursed largely among the agriculture and agribusiness sectors in the region.

 “There are vast opportunities in this region which we intend to help Turkey develop,” he said.

As head of the Ankara office, Özhan will lead the European bank’s cooperation with the Turkish government, Ankara-based international financial institutions, diplomatic missions and civil society organizations. He will also oversee the bank’s business in Ankara and the Central Anatolia regions, the bank said in a statement on Nov. 16.