In 2016, a few months after the coup in Turkey, there were discussions in Albania about who would win the bid for the Nation’s Road maintenance contract.
The Ministry of Transportation had chosen the Vendeka Consortium, a Turkish company which had participated through a “non-paper” method. There were voices that behind the “non-paper” there was a Turkish consortium.
The paper and the meetings of Turkish diplomats came in a time when Vendeka had won the tender, while there were constant requests from Ankara to stop, control and remove Gulen’s interests from Albania.
Top Channel reported at that time that the document sent by the Turkish authorities to the Albanian government accused the Vendeka Company of having ties with Fetullah Gulen and his “FETO” organization, which was declared as a terrorist group in Turkey.
The same document, handed to the Albanian authorities, quotes the name of Baki Kuran, the General Manager of Vendeka, of attending a ceremony in the Philippines, in 2013, when Fetullah Gulen received an award for contributing to peace.
The harshest accusation of the document coming from Ankara was for Hussein Kizmaz, the Director for the Pacific Region for the Vendeka Group. He is accused of having bought the cameras through which were spied the sons of Erdogan and other relatives, which was going to be used for intimidation.
After this letter, the winner for the Durres-Kukes highway maintenances was an Albanian consortium and Vendeka was left out. The Turkish letter also had other concerns, while Erdogan himself asked Albania to be cautious with “FETO”.
The Turkish concerns were also related to the high number of schools, which, according to them, are funded by Gylenist organizations, as well as other businesses, even banks that operate in Albania.