Prof. Dr. Selim YAZICI

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Turkey’s international building boom

Turkey’s geographical position at the crossroads of three continents is driving the success of Turkish construction companies abroad. Only China has more firms than Turkey among the world’s biggest international construction contractors, according to a recent survey.

The construction industry is crucial to Turkey’s economy, accounting for well over 6% of GDP and employing some 1.5 million people. A readiness to move into new markets means Turkish construction companies now have operations in 94 countries, with a value of some $206 billion.

Among the country’s most successful building contractors is TAV Construction. Since 2003 the TAV group has been expanding its presence throughout the region and now operates in 10 countries, with $12.5 billion worth of contracts. TAV CEO Sani Sener says his company’s success in the region is partly due to its strong local geographic and cultural ties.

“Globalization can transfer capital and knowledge, but globalization cannot transfer cultures,” he told CNN’s John Defterios.

“Geographical proximity and cultural commonality” are both key to TAV, he added.

Already responsible for building international airports in Turkey, Macedonia and Georgia, Turkish construction giant TAV is now working on part of Qatar’s new international airport.

With its futuristic state-of-the-art design, Doha’s international airport will cost a total of $11 billion and will process 12.5 million passengers annually. TAV and Japanese company Taisei will build passenger terminals in Doha in a $3.3 billion joint venture.

Sener is confident the aviation industry can ride out the political turmoil and rebuilding in countries such as Syria and Libya.

“Aviation is a very crisis-resistant business,” said Sener. “When we started out in 2000 there was a devastating earthquake in Turkey, then we had the Turkish crisis in 2001, later 9/11, the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war, SARS disease, Avian flu, the ash cloud, the Arab Spring.

“We had all kinds of external shocks but still we achieved 11.2% compound average growth rate in passenger numbers … and the growth is mainly in emerging markets.”

And Sener says a growing number of flights connecting new airports in the region is helping to drive local economies. “These synergies between airlines and flight carriers and main hub operators is really creating new businesses,” he said.

KAYNAK: CNN Business 360,