The Turkish Consortium that offered a bid to build the Vlora airport is the same one that is building the biggest airport in the world, the Istanbul Airport, which has a cost of 22 billion EUR. The consortium is led by Cengiz Construction, owned by businessman Mehmet Cengiz.
The prestigious German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, reported that Cengiz has earned 50-billion-USD in tenders since Erdogan came to power, or more than 3 billion a year.
The German newspaper says that Cengiz is part of an elite group of businessmen close to Erdogan, the so-called Anatolia Tigers.
Washington Post says that Cengiz is the perfect example of the clientele system in Turkey.
In 2012, when Cengiz and two other companies which offered their bids for the Vlora Airport had won the construction bid for the Istanbul airport, the Turkish Prosecution issued arrest orders for Mehmet Cengiz and other businessmen close to Erdogan.
They were suspected for several contracts, including the one of Istanbul. But the arrest orders of the Turkish Prosecution were not implemented by the Police. Erdogan, then Prime Minister, said that it was a coup attempt.
However, a few days later, two ministers of his cabinet, the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Environment, resigned and started launching public accusations against Erdogan for suspicious ties with the construction business.
Investigations were closed, dozens of prosecutors and police chiefs were arrested, which were concluded with the coup of 2016 and massive arrests that followed.
Six years after the bid for the Istanbul airport, the giant Cengiz Construction will build another airport, this time in Vlora. Same as in Istanbul, the decision seems to have been taken at the same office, as declared by Prime Minister Rama on February 4th, 2017.
The Ministry of transportation declared that the airport will be built with money coming from private companies, but refused to give details on the project and on how the companies would be paid. The airport in Turkey is being built with sovereign guarantee, which means that the state will be the guarantee for the company’s profit.
Will they have the same formula? These details will be uncovered in the days to come, before the contract goes for approval in Parliament. The names in the Vlora airport bid are the same with the Istanbul one.