In April 2007, the Turkish government announced its plans to
privatize the operations of several bridges and stretches of
highway throughout the country. Slated for privatization are the
two Bosphorus bridges linking the European and Asian sides of
Istanbul. The bridges together handled in excess of 303 million
cars and generated over 640 million New Turkish Liras of revenue
from tolls in 2007. Approximately 1,860 KM of highway are also on
the agenda. The goals of this privatization effort are clearly to
increase quality of service and to guarantee continued/new
investment in super- and infra- structures. The Privatization High
Council (PHC) passed a resolution outlining a bidding process for
that was to begin in early summer 2008 with final contract awards
being completed by 31 December 2008.
State Council Suspends Privatization Effort
After reviewing demands made by the Consumer Protection
Association (CPA) to suspend the bridge and highway privatization
process being undertaken by the Privatization High Council (PHC),
the Duty Chamber of the State Council (the Chamber) voted on 19
August 2008 to suspend the privatization process for highways and
bridges. The Chamber's rationale for voting in favor of the
suspension was made on the premise that without a more
comprehensive legal framework, the privatization of highways,
bridges and service facilities should not proceed. To establish
such a comprehensive outline of the powers and responsibilities of
the operator and the State authority it will be necessary to amend
the current privatization legislation. The Privatization
Administration of Turkey (PA) has the right to appeal the decision
of the Chamber. In such case, the appeal will be heard by the
Unified Administrative Chamber of the State Council.
Statements made by the PA President before and after the State
Even before the Chamber's decision to suspend the proposed
privatizations, Mr. Metin Kilci, the PA President, stated that due
to its busy agenda, the draft law concerning the privatization of
highways and bridges would likely not be enacted by the Parliament
in a timely manner thus making it difficult to complete the
privatization of highways and bridges by the end of 2008 as
mandated by the PHC ruling.
In a comment made after the suspension decision, Mr. Kilci
stated that he expects the draft law currently awaiting
Parliamentary approval to eliminate the current concerns of the
State Council and the reasons for suspension would be naturally
removed by enactment of this law. He further stated that the PA
expects to initiate the privatization of highways and bridges
towards the end of 2008, with the first tender to include six
highways and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. The Bosphorus Bridge
is planned to be privatized separately.
The general conditions of the privatization would be for the
operating rights to be transferred to the private investor for
20-25 years. The selected operating companies would be responsible
for toll collection and operation and maintenance of the selected
highway or bridge. It is envisaged that the privatization will
generate an income of US$5-6 billion for the Turkish
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