Turkey’s mysterious payments to contractors increase – report

Turkey is paying more and more cash to construction companies under a budgetary classification known as “other payments”, more than it officially spends on highways and roads, according to an analysis in Cumhuriyet newspaper.

The government paid out 38.2 billion lira ($10 billion) to the contractors last year, an increase of 13.5 percent, Cumhuriyet’s Ciğdem Toker said. ‘Other payments’ made up the biggest portion of the spending, she said.

The government spent 15.1 billion lira on road projects, which also increased 13.5 percent from a year earlier, Toker said. A large proportion of the contracts were awarded in tenders that were only open to invited firms, she said.

Turkey has made the means by which it awards and pays for government contracts increasingly opaque since it concluded a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund almost a decade ago.

Turkey has also spent about 9 billion lira a year on public buildings over the past three years, Toker said. Payments on private security have also surged, she said.