Twenty Turkish firms file suit against Turkmenistan

Central Asia Economy Newswire

Twenty Turkish firms file suit against Turkmenistan

13 July 2011

The government of Turkmenistan faces legal action from twenty Turkish construction firms over broken contracts costing them more than $1 billion in losses, a spokesman representing the companies said on Wednesday.

Irfan Dolek, who represents 20 of the contractors, said the move follows his failure to resolve the dispute though two rounds of talks with top Turkmen officials close to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Associated Press news agency reported on Wednesday.

"Our talks have reached a dead end. They did not show the interest that we had expected in our ordeal," Dolek told the news agency.

"They did not understand the seriousness of the situation," he added.

His efforts follow a visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to the former Soviet republic in May to try and settle the issue through diplomacy.

The Turkish firms will file suits against Turkmenistan at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Dolek said. Three other Turkish contractors filed a complaint with the dispute body in April.

"We don’t want an international scandal but many of the companies are on the brink of bankruptcy," he said.

The two counties have close trade and cultural ties.

Turkish construction companies have been at the forefront of an extended construction boom in the gas-rich republic, which boasts the world’s fourth largest reserves.

Today, the capital city Ashgabat and the country’s Avaza tourist resort on the Caspian Sea sport impressive buildings, monuments and infrastructure financed from the country’s gas sales and mostly built by Turkish companies.