As Turkish officials take steps toward normalization of relations with Russia, Turkish construction firms have already accepted invitations for 15 bids. Construction is the first sector to act in the recovery process between the two countries as Turkish construction firms contact former Russian business partners. Although the ban on tenders has only been partially lifted, Turkish firms began taking over tenders through local authorities. According to the latest information, Turkish firms were approved for roughly 15 tenders by Friday. Turkish firms will also participate in construction bids for a 300-kilometer road in St. Petersburg, a fertilizer plant in Novosibirsk and an iron and steel plant in Moscow.
Turkish firms were selected in construction bids on facilities during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and regarding future bids, our firms are prepared to take part in the urban infrastructural and superstructural projects to be carried out in the context of the upcoming FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018," officials from the Turkish Contractors' Association told Sabah daily.
The Turkish construction sector has faced problems in Russia despite special permissions provided for major projects. The recent news has renewed optimism among sector representatives. Speaking to Sabah daily's Seda Tabak, TMB Chairman Mithat Yenigün said that they are expecting to take on projects worth $2 billion in Russia by the end of the year.
Turkish contractors have taken over more than 1,920 infrastructural and superstructural projects in Russia worth $62 billion since 1988. According to TMB data, Turkish contractors top Russia's list of foreign contractors at 19.4 percent.
After Turkey downed a Russian jet on Nov. 24 last year after it violated Turkish airspace near the Syrian border, the furious Russian government imposed sanctions on Turkey in response, with Turkish food imports being blockaded at Russian border gates after Jan. 1. Moscow called on Russians to stop visiting Turkey and opened investigations against Russian tourism agencies that organize tours to Turkey. Moreover, Russia refused to issue work permits for Turkish citizens and called for an end to visa-free travel as well. These sanctions proved costly for both sides, with the normalization process launched last week allowing economic relations to gain momentum.
Tourism sector experiences dynamism
Some Russian tour operators have begun selling holiday packages for individuals looking to book vacations in Turkey. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decree on the removal of sanctions imposed on tour sales and charter flights to Turkey, the tourism sector has experienced recovery. Tourism companies like Tez Tour and Pegas Turistik have initiated tour package sales to Turkey on the internet. Russian-Turkish charter flights which have been cancelled since December 1, 2015 following the fighter jet crisis will resume on June 7.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev called on Russians tourists to seize this opportunity to book vacations in Turkey this season. Turkish Hoteliers' Federation (TÜROFED) Vice President Yavuz Torunoğulları commented on the positive developments in Turkish-Russian relations, saying that the restoration of ties will have an important impact on the hotel and restaurant sector; especially in the province of Antalya in August and September. Professional Hotel Managers' Association (POYD) Chairman Ali Kızıldağ said Russian tourists will begin arriving in Turkey in mid-July.
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