Turkish construction market to attract European firms

March 24, 2010, Wednesday/ 16:32:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Several of Europe’s prominent construction firms will try to find ways to enter the Turkish housing and real estate market in the next five years, Martin Langen, founding partner of B+L Marktdaten GmbH, a European construction and housing markets research firm, has said.

Turkey is one of the countries that European firms have the most interest in, Langen stated, attributing this to the country’s rapid rate of growth. Predicting that construction needs in Turkey will increase in the next five to 10 years, he said: “Several important building firms based in Europe will try to find ways to expand into the Turkish market. Two important factors will lead to this: business opportunities and a growing population.”

Langen was speaking on Monday at the “International Markets and Opportunities in the Construction Sector: Russia, Central Europe and the Middle East” meeting organized jointly by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Yapı Endüstri Merkezi (YEM).

He also said 400,000 housing units will be built in the next five to 10 years. Langen pointed out that the current housing units, especially in cosmopolitan provinces such as Ankara and İstanbul, are not located in the right areas of the city.

Turkey might face difficulties similar to those of China, he remarked, putting special emphasis on possible infrastructural problems. “The Turkish building sector is among those that have the potential to grow the fastest in the region. But the growth should be controlled and be in accordance with infrastructural development.”

Cihan Candemir, the chairman of the DEİK Turkish-Afghan Business Council and CEO of construction firm Yüksel İnşaat, also speaking at the meeting, briefed the audience on Turkish construction firms’ overseas operations. Operating in 81 countries, Turkish contractors took on projects worth $155 billion between 1971 and 2009, he said. Candemir cited Russia, Libya and Turkmenistan as the top markets for Turkish construction firms, with shares of 20 percent, 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively, in the overall business volume. With the eruption of the recent global financial meltdown, operations stopped in several countries, he said, while predicting that this year’s performance would be the as same as last year’s, without any significant change. Turkish construction firms’ areas of operation have been diversifying, Candemir said, and are now operating in areas ranging from transportation to energy, housing and waterways.

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