President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting in St. Petersburg on Tuesday instilled hope for many sectors, including construction. With some global problems such as instability in the region hitting the construction industry, Turkish contractors aim to increase their share of the Russian market.
Last year, Turkish contractors managed to protect their second place behind China for the eighth straight year, according to the list of the 250 largest international construction contractors. While the market size of these companies decreased by 4.1 percent, Turkish contractors increased their revenues along with their share of the market. However, global problems hit the sector this year according to experts.
Tahir Tellioğlu, the chairman of the Confederation of Construction Contractors (İMKON), said although the industry's share of international construction services decreased this year to some extent, substantial increases in its share would be possible by compensating losses in a short period along with the impact of the recent developments with Russia. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Tellioğlu said Turkey had skillful and experienced businesspeople in construction, but recent negative developments have disrupted the sector.
Explaining that the sector has been affected by instabilities in the Middle East and Africa as well as the crisis with Russia over the past year, Tellioğlu said the industry's international share dropped 50 percent, and the markets that the industry is currently collaborating with are risky. It is not certain whether they will be attacked while continuing operations or if they will get money in the end from the markets. The construction industry has lost $10 billion, but deals with Russia and other countries until end of the year should compensate half of the industry's losses, regaining trust.
According to Tellioğlu, good relations will make important contributions to the sector in the long run, and Russia is one of the largest and most important markets for the Turkish construction industry.
He said that recent developments with Russia have instilled hope in the Turkish construction sector, and added: "The sector has been struggling with serious problems both domestically and internationally. However, the decrease in loan interest rates in the country and good relations with Russia outside the country will help the industry put itself back together." Stressing that the return to good relations with Russia will help Turkey race to the top in the long run, Tellioğlu said Russia is not just a country for Turkey, it also means comfortable collaborations with many other countries.
Mithat Yenigün, the president of the Turkish Contractors Association (TMB), said Russia has always been an important market for Turkish contractors. Indicating that since Turkey entered the Russian market for the first time in 1988, 1,941 projects worth nearly $65 billion have been built, Yenigün said: "We are expecting positive contributions to the economies of the two countries following the normalization of relations in the new period."
Stressing that Turkish contractors did business worth $4.8 billion in Russia in 2013, $3.9 billion in 2014 and $5.4 billion in 2015, Yenigün said a large market was awaiting Turkish contractors in the coming period.