16 Nisan 2011 Cumartesi

Turkish construction firm starts mega project in N Iraq

Ayyıldızlar, which has agreed with an Iraqi firm to build 62,000 residences in Arbil city, runs several projects in Turkey.

Ayyıldızlar, which has agreed with an Iraqi firm to build 62,000 residences in Arbil city, runs several projects in Turkey.
Ayyıldızlar Construction, a shareholder in NUJWM Libya, has retreated from its investments in the turmoil-stricken North African country with millions of dollars lost and is now focusing on new opportunities in northern Iraq.

The Turkish firm has agreed with an Iraqi firm, Cihan Group, to build 62,000 residences in the province of Arbil, Ayyıldızlar Construction’s coordinator told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Tuesday.

Ayyıldızlar Construction has agreed with a local holding company in northern Iraq to build 15,000 residences, with a nearly $250 million cost at the first stage in Arbil, said the coordinator of administrative management and technical affairs of the Turkish construction firm, Muhammet Tüysüz.

According to Tüysüz the major project will be followed with the construction of 47,000 residences in Arbil. The coordinator said the executives of the firm are already in Arbil to sign the agreement for the final contract including the owner of the firm, Kemal Alyıldız.

Talking to the Daily News, Tüysüz said the regional government in northern Iraq has allocated approximately 6.5 million square meters for the project. “The negations took nearly two years for this mega-project, which will include smart-apartments and one-floor luxury properties,” Tüysüz said, adding that it will be the first construction project carried out by the firm in northern Iraq.

“We have made an agreement with the Cihan Group, which is active in the automotive, food stuff, heavy machinery, generators, real estate, petroleum and banking sectors in Iraq.” Responding to a question on the possible cost of the project, Tüysüz said, “The total cost will be paid by our Iraqi partner Cihan Group and Ayyıldızlar Construction will deal with the construction of the project.”

Cihan Holding founded its first textile factory in the early 1970s and added a plastic and paper factory in 1980. Despite the difficulty of purchasing raw materials with the start of the first Gulf War, the firm continued its existence. The relations established with Turkey in 1992 and started up Cihan International Trade Company based in the southern province of Mersin to trade for food from Turkey. The automotive firm of the group is known as the first private-sector firm to deliver brands-new automobiles to northern Iraq through Turkey in 1997.

The group also has the Cihan Investment Bank with braches in many Iraqi cities including Baghdad, Arbil and Sulaymaniyah. The Cihan Group has built various showrooms in the northern provinces of Arbil and Zakho and in the southern Turkish Mediterranean port city of Mersin, according to the firm’s website. “We own a big amount of real estate in Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, Baghdad and Zakho, both commercial, residency, agricultural and industrial lands all over Iraq,” the website said.

Talking to the Daily News, Tüysüz said Ayyıldızlar Holding constructed many facilities for the NATO base at Incirlik in the southern Turkish province of Adana during the 1980s, including a hotel for the United States Air Force, an air ammunition depot for NATO and a communication center in Turkish soil.

Having been the representative of NUJWM Libya, a 60 percent Libyan-owned firm in Turkey, Tüysüz said the firm stopped 13 projects in various Libyan cities including Benghazi and Tripoli and nearly 170 Turkish employees returned from Libya to Turkey by last week. Having 40 percent of NUJWM Libya, Ayyıldızlar Construction could not receive $15 million in return for the completed projects from the Libyan authorities. “We don’t know how long we will wait for Libya to settle down,” said Tüysüz, adding that the firm would continue to pay the wages of the Turkish laborers who returned from Libya. “The Turkish government should support us at least regarding wages for the laborers,” said Tüysüz. “From now on, we will focus on our new project in Arbil,” he said over the phone.

“Iraq needs 2 million dwellings built within the next four years and the Iraqi government will guarantee all housing investments,” said Iraqi Housing and Municipalities Minister Muhammad Sahib al-Daraji at a meeting with Turkish State Minister Zafer Çağlayan this month. At the same meeting, Çağlayan also highlighted the importance of establishing a Turkey-Iraq Construction Business Council.

Iraqi firm eyes opportunities in Turkish market 

Talking to the Daily News, Tüysüz said: “The Cihan Group is also interested in hotel and shopping mall investments in Turkey, especially in Istanbul.”

According to him, the Iraqi firm might acquire hotels and shopping malls. “Currently, we are consulting the Cihan Group and introducing them to opportunities in our country,” said Tüysüz. “We would like to continue our partnership in various projects in Turkey.”

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