Posted by meb at November 3rd, 2011

Turkish construction companies should rush back to Libya, their one-time top market, as the government is ready to support them, according to Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan.

“Our businessmen demand a special customs permit to take their machinery and equipment to Libya,” the minister said during a press meeting yesterday in Tripoli with his Libyan counterpart.

A business assembly of 200 people accompanied the minister during the one-day visit.

Turkish companies undertook $7.627 billion worth of projects in Libya in 2009 and 2010, according to official data.

Upon Turkish Prime Minister’s order, Turkey will build schools, mosques, police stations, courts and jails in Libya, the minister said.

Turkish contractors will start building these facilities for free once the Libyan authorities finalize determining their needs, he said.

The ministry runs a budget of $50 million to support consultancy practices for Turkish companies worldwide, Çağlayan said, adding that Turkey will pay up to $300,000 per project in Libya within the scope of this fund, calling it a gesture. “Libyan authorities will not pay for it.” he said.

Turkey will work on using this fund mostly in Libya.

Turkey has always been on Libya’s side and this is where the country diverges from other countries eyeing businesses there, according to Çağlayan.

“The countries that colonized Africa are today trying to achieve a role,” he said, without naming specific countries.

These countries are thinking of “how to exploit the resources there” once again, he added.

Abdullah Shamia, the economy minister of the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Tripoli, said Libya had a lot to learn from Turkey’s experiences. Turkey backed Libya during the transition period, Shamia said.

“We have overcome our cash problem due to Turkey’s support,” he said.