Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan bargains online for dam deadline

Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan bargains online for dam deadline

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan bargains online for dam deadline

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AA Photo

In a rare occasion, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan joined the ground breaking ceremony of the Yusufeli Dam in a video conference from his parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, where he bargained with the contractors about the deadline for Turkey’s highest water dam ever.

Speaking on behalf of the Limak, Cengiz and Kolin consortium, Limak Chairman Nihat Özdemir promised Erdoğan the project would be finished on May 29, 2018 at 11:00 a.m., some 20 months earlier than the initial deadline.

“This is an order [from] our esteemed Prime Minister,” Özdemir said.

The construction of the dam and a hydroelectric power plant (HES) in the Black Sea province of Artin had been suspended for nearly 40 years. The Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs and the consortium led by Limak Holding signed an agreement on Oct. 22 to build Turkey’s first dam and HES financed only by local sources.

Yusufeli Dam will be 270 meters, the highest in Turkey, and will have 2.2 billion metercubes of annual storage volume. The HES plans to generate 1.8 billion megawatts of energy per year and is slated to satisfy the electricity demands of 750,000 houses. The project will cost around 486 million Turkish Liras, aiming to contribute 330 million liras to the state economy every year.

‘We will drink poison if needed’

Earlier in his speech, Erdoğan hit hard at the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over heated nationalist discussions in an enthusiastic party group meeting that was frequently interrupted with chants by deputies.

Erdoğan also defended the latest visit by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies to İmralı island to meet the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan.

“If our Justice Ministry allows those deputies [to visit Öcalan] it is because if a step could be taken [toward the solution], it was this. The MHP exploits this; we use every means possible to solve this problem, if we need to drink hemlock poison, we will, if peace will come to this country,” Erdoğan said.