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In the 1970s, due to the economic crisis in the domestic market, Turkish contractors for the first time, become interested in overseas projects. With the first contracts signed in Libya, Turkish international contracting services started their rapid development phase due to the incremental reconstruction activities of the oil producing countries. Since than they have made remarkable progress.

Following North Africa and the Middle East, which remained major markets for many years, in the mid 1980s Turkish contractors entered into the former USSR. The Turkish-Russian Natural Gas Agreement signed in 1984 reinforced the volume of in this country.

If we examine the geographical breakdown of the total volume of projects, before 1990 we see that Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were the top three countries. However, since 1990, the top three ranking countries have been replaced by the Russian Federation, Libya and Kazakhstan.

Now initiatives are oriented towards South and South East Asia with contracts won in Pakistan, Malaysia and Philippines. In the European Market, the total value of projects by Turkish contractors was around 8 million DM, as a recent development, projects in the framework of Lebanese and Jordanian reconstruction programs are being followed.

So far, the total value of projects undertaken by the Turkish contractors has reached $33 billion US (the projects still under progress amount to $15 billion US). The present share of the Turkish construction sector in the international market is about 10% and today, Turkish contractors play a major role in the international arena and are active in more than 25 countries.

There is a significant change in the pattern of Turkish overseas contractors portfolios. Turkish contractors are now exploring the significant needs of the products and services of the countries in which they are operating or intending to operate. They are catering to those needs with whole package offers consisting of basic or process engineering, feasibility studies, equipment selection and extension of credit.

Today Turkish construction and engineering firms are able to design, erect, build and operate almost all kinds of civil and industrial projects, such as dams, hydroelectric power plants, industrial plants, large scale petroleum and natural gas pipelines, thermal power plants, fertilizer plants, petrochemical complexes and refineries, motorways, tunnels, large housing projects, high-rise buildings, hotel and touristic resorts.

The experience gained in the Middle East and Common-Wealth Independent States carried the Turkish Contractors to an outstanding position in comparison with their competitors some additional advantages such as geographical proximity, low labor cost and high quality technical personnel make Turkish contractors noteworthy.

The work of Turkish contractors abroad has come to be accepted worldwide and the quality of the construction, their relative cheapness and speed have impressed both the employer institutions and the end users extensively. Today, foreign capital from the EU, the USA, Japan and Australia prefers to cooperate with Turkish businessmen to enter into the Central Asian Republics. This preference can be readily attributed to the expertise and strength of Turkish contracting firms and their ability to use high technology.

The only necessary factor lacking is financing capacity. Although Turk Eximbank extends credit lines to the target markets (currently only to the Russian Federation and Central Asian Republics), due to the economic situation of our country they are far below the requirements of the Turkish contracting sector. Especially in the Middle East and the Central Asian Republics, tenders issued are being won by contracting firms which also extend financing facilities.

The contracting services sector plays an important part in the progress of the Turkish economy and will continue to contribute to the development of the relations Turkey has with neighbouring countries and with other countries that she considers to have economic ties with.

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