Turkish ship fined $120 million in Pakistan, diplomatic efforts continue
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet photoThe crisis between a Turkish company that was running power generating ships in Pakistan and the Pakistani government has deepened after a local court decision demanded $120 million in fines for the seized vehicles, which are worth about $400 million. President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have intervened in the process to save the ships owned by Turkey’s Karadeniz Holding, Hürriyet newspaper reported on its website.
Today’s court decision was a drop from a $243 million fine earlier.
Kaya Bey and Ali Can Bey, whose contracts were cancelled earlier this month, are currently being held in Pakistan over claims from an opposition member of the Pakistani Parliament. Faysal Salih Hayat, the former labor minister who launched the case, and the local authority NAB have agreed on $120 million in fine, Hürriyet quoted NAB official Shahbaz Batti as saying.
According to a news story published by Pakistan’s Nation, Gül and Erdoğan have also joined the diplomatic efforts to free the Turkish ships.
“Turkish President Abdullah Gül is in contact with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to prevent bilateral relations from worsening over the detention of the Turkish power-generating ships’ row,” the Nation reported.
“Sources said the Turkish government was trying to get an appointment with Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to brief him on the matter,” it added.
The largest Turkish investment in Pakistan, the ships are capable of supplying 30 percent of the energy needs of Karachi’s population of 18 million when operated at full capacity.
The company was paid $80 million in advance, but NAB claim the payment was a violation of the agreement because the powerhouse failed to provide the agreed 200MW, Pakistan claims. “Recently, [the ships] have managed to add only 60 MW to the national grid,” the Nation said.
Authorities decided the ships had to leave after repaying the unused amount of the $17.2 million deposit issued by the Pakistani government.