Turkish contractors will be issued class designations such as A, B, or C depending on their success in completing contracted projects and satisfaction rates. In this way, firms which are known to perform poor quality work will be blocked from attending international tenders.
The project, being conducted under the coordination of the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade (DTM), will be actively supported by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), the Turkish Construction Industry Employers' Union (İNTES), and the Turkish Contractors Association (TMB). Announcing that an accreditation agency for contractors will be established, Zafer Çağlayan, the foreign trade minister, said: "It is important that the number of our companies doing work internationally increases. But quality is equally important. Firms must deliver quality work on time and in compliance with specifications. We will introduce this accreditation system for all contracting companies doing business abroad. This does not mean that only bigger companies will do international business. There is sufficient work for everyone. I think that firms should be categorized under Classes A, B, or C. The reason why we're introducing this is to make sure that Turkish firms are awarded a greater number of contracts." On his return from a recent trip to Turkmenistan, Çağlayan held a press conference, where he indicated that Turkey and Turkish companies lose prestige because of poor quality work. "Our firms should undertake their work in a way that will pave the way for new work in the international market. The interests of the country have to be a priority for all of us. For this reason, it is important that accredited companies who are known to perform quality work are awarded contracts," he said.
Turkey ranks second after China in terms of construction business around the world. There were 31 Turkish companies among the world's biggest contracting firms this year. The total value of the contracts Turkish companies completed abroad was $23.6 billion in 2008. However, the failure of some contractors to complete their jobs on time, the poor quality of their work and their nonobservance of tender specifications are the major problems facing the Turkish contracting business in the international arena. Because of these defects, Turkish contracting companies cannot preserve their share of the worldwide market, particularly in Libya and Turkmenistan.
When the Turkish firms who produce poor quality work are not paid, this undermines the bilateral relations between Turkey and the respective countries. Turkey has long been thinking of how to solve this problem, finally settling on introducing an accreditation system.
Çağlayan further disclosed that numerous new business potentials have emerged around the globe. "There is a new restructuring process around the globe. There is infrastructure work in progress. For instance, in Turkmenistan, there is major potential for our companies. Sports halls and sports complexes will be established in all main towns. Moreover, there will be one trillion dollar worth infrastructure investments for the next 10 years in Saudi Arabia and India," he said.
Reminding that 90 percent of the construction projects in Turkmenistan are currently being undertaken by Turkish companies, he added: "But, despite this, there are some problems concerning our companies, which fail to complete the work in time or deliver poor quality work. These contracts are then awarded to other Turkish companies so that they can be completed." Çağlayan noted that 67 Turkish companies attended a recent trade fair held in Turkmenistan. "They were particularly pleased with the Turkish fair. They seek to cooperate with Turkish companies with respect to glassware, ceramics, tile and construction materials. They want these investments in Turkmenistan. The ceramic and tile products displayed particularly attracted their attention," he said.
Belek-like tourism center for Turkmenistan
Minister Çağlayan also stated that the Avaza region of Turkmenistan will be turned into a tourism center like Belek in Turkey. Noting that the lion's share of investments here will go to the Turkish firms, he stressed that Turkmenistan has made progress in the tourism business. "In particular, there are major infrastructure investments to be made in the Avaza region. These investments will be in the order of billions of dollars. There is potential for contractors here. Docks will be built, marinas will be established and a tourism region will be created," he said.
Çağlayan also disclosed that he offered a preferential trade agreement to Turkmenistan. Stressing that trade between the two countries increased by 42 percent in 2008, he said: "It is important that there is a balanced trade which is beneficial for both countries. I offered to make a preferential trade agreement with them. We will prepare a draft agreement by the end of this month. If we can strike one, custom tax will be reciprocally lowered for certain products, boosting mutual trade."
Three shifts for construction
Minister Çağlayan explained that there is important business potential in Turkmenistan. "2008 was a year of booming business. Our companies undertook $5.3 billion worth projects. There are still many projects to be undertaken in this country. In all construction sites, work goes on at night. With this motivation, we will soon go to Libya to make new business deals," he said.