The minister said the new investments reflected investors' appetite for Turkey's recently introduced incentive package.
Accompanied by GE Vice Chairman John Rice, Çağlayan met with reporters to introduce the US giant's upcoming investments. Part of the investments will include the production of parts to generate wind energy, the minister added. Recalling that Turkey's electricity demand has increased faster than anticipated, he said it would be “logical” for GE to invest in the country's energy sector.
“The company will be able to benefit from a wide range of incentives offered to investors to boost local production,” Çağlayan added. The incentives are targeted at narrowing the country's widening current account deficit (CAD).
GE's Turkey affiliate, General Elektrik A.Ş., could start manufacturing turbines and parts in Turkey as well. Turkey's Locomotive and Engine Industry Corporation (TÜLOMSAŞ) and GE currently jointly manufacture high-tech locomotives in Eskişehir. “We are focusing on infrastructure and innovation in Turkey. The company is in talks with universities on plans for research and development and will provide specifics in the next few months,” Rice told reporters.
Libya to fully pay for completed Turkish projects
On Sunday, Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, told Economy Minister Çağlayan that his government was ready to pay Turkish contractors for the projects they had completed before last year's domestic clashes.
Turkey has been in close contact with Libyan authorities to ensure payments totaling $1 billion would be made as soon as possible. In addition, representatives from Turkish construction companies have been conducting separate talks with Libyan officials about payment for work completed thus far, as well as to resume the projects.
At the beginning of this year, Libya agreed to pay Turkish contractors $400 million out of a total of $1.4 billion in outstanding payments. A large number of Turkish construction projects worth $15 billion are still under way in the war-torn country and are expected to resume. Turkish construction companies had to suspend their projects in Libya following last year's countrywide unrest. The companies said they failed to receive $1.4 billion in total for the projects they had completed prior to the problems in the North African country.
“Turkish contractors lived up to their promises to rebuild some of the decimated public offices and buildings in Libya free of charge. These buildings include hospitals, schools and police stations. We are grateful for this,” Jalil noted. The NTC head said the Libyans expect the Turkish companies to return and finish the construction projects.
Çağlayan said the government was committed to protecting the rights of Turkish companies in Libya. “We should not condone any abuse of rights here,” he asserted. The minister also said separate commissions were reviewing the losses incurred by Turkish contractors during last year's civil revolt.