Erdoğan business ally Ilıcak snaps up huge Libyan construction deals
Erman Ilıcak, a billionaire known for his close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, signed agreements to build three power plants, an airport terminal and a shopping mall in Libya.
Ilıcak’s Rönesans Holding won the contracts after Erdoğan met with Libyan interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on Monday. The deals were signed by Rönesans and Libyan officials at a televised ceremony in Ankara the same day.
Turkey’s Aksa Enerji also penned an accord to build a power plant with Libya’s GECOL.
No further details of the contracts were revealed.
Rönesans, which operates as a construction contractor and real estate developer in 28 countries, built Erdoğan’s presidential palace in Ankara and has a $4.3 billion contract with the Turkish government for the construction and leasing to the state of 12 large hospitals. The political opposition says the contracts are uneconomical.
Turkey is seeking to maintain its foothold in Libya and to benefit from the country’s reconstruction after a civil war. It keeps troops, Syrian mercenaries and military hardware in the country, supporting the government in Tripoli against opposition forces in the east of the country backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Rönesans is working on tenders for Kanal Istanbul, a shipping canal project designed to bypass Istanbul’s Bosporus Strait, according to local media reports in July.
Aksa Enerji is owned by Ali Metin Kazancı, who has won several large state contracts and runs power networks in Turkey. Aksa allegedly paid $2.5 million in bribes to Ghanaian officials, in order to secure a 2015 contract for building an electricity plant in Ghana, the Financial Times reported last year.
Dbeibah, a businessman from Misrata, is a billionaire who granted contracts to Turkish companies through state-owned agencies before former Libyan leader Gaddafi was overthrown.
Libya is due to hold elections in December.