Let Turks build the roads: Ukrainian President
According to the World Economic Forum, Ukraine has some of the worst highways in the world. In the road quality index of 137 countries, Ukraine ranks 130th. The worst are African countries like Mozambique, Gabon and Angola. The Government of Kiev, which has recently started a major effort to improve the quality of roads, renovated 2,000 km in 2017 and 4,000 km in 2018. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, $74 billion is needed to handle all roads and make them more usable. However, more important than money, the concern for Kiev is finding companies that can do this job skillfully.
Last week, President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the International Film Festival in Odessa, Ukraine’s port and cultural center. Zelenski, who is also an actor, was in Odessa to keep a close eye not only on the festival but also the problems of the city. A statement he made in the evening on almost every television channel in
Ukraine made tremendous impact on the country’s agenda.
In a hall full of local officials and press members, Zelensky pointed out that the road problem in Odessa has still not been solved and made a statement which concerns Turkey. “Please tell me how you are planning to build your roads,” he said, turning to local officials. “Don’t come to me with excuses. You can work with a Turkish company. For example, Onur Insaat is a very good construction company. Give the job to them and complete this work by the end of this year.”
Onur Insaat, which launched its first project in Ukraine in 2004. has been repairing the country’s roads for years, participating in nearly all of its key infrastructure projects. It owns dozens of construction sites in 16 different cities. The roads of almost all of the major cities of Ukraine have been rebuilt by Onur.
After watching the news, I talked with Emre Karaahmetoglu, General Manager of Onur Insaat Ukraine. Karaahmetoglu said that the first road built in Ukraine after the Soviet period was built by Onur Inşaat 15 years ago. “Since then, we have built nearly 3,000 km of road. We have made quality roads with our quality staff. We completed our projects before the deadlines. After 15 years, they see that the work we do still maintains its quality and thus they have trust in us,” he said. Ukraine’s total road network is 170,000 kilometers, which is 2.5 times bigger than Turkey’s 70,000 km. “As long as they can allocate a budget, they keep building their roads and we maintain road projects in 8 major cities of Ukraine,” Karaahmetoglu noted.
Among the top global contractors
Founded in 1981 as Onur Grubu, changing its name in 2015, Onur Insaat now operates in three continents. It is a key player in the global contractors list and, according to the Engineering News Record (ENR) Report, a respected industry publication, ranked 140th in 2017 and 147th in 2018 in the list of International Contractors. Among the 20 largest Turkish companies on the list, Onur also conducts studies in other areas, from tourism to aviation. The company also owns Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort as well as operating Onur Aviation, which runs private jet flights.
Ukrainian Order of Merit
Onur Insaat is also the largest Turkish employer in Ukraine with 4,000 employees, manufacturing in five different factories in addition to its construction works. It also has investments in the tourism and agriculture sectors in Ukraine. Onur Çetinceviz, the founder of the company, who has signed many contracts in modern Ukraine, is also a recipient of the Ukrainian Order of Merit.
According to the data of the Turkish Contractors Association, Turkish companies in Ukraine have successfully completed around 200 projects totaling $6 billion making them the largest foreign contractors in Ukraine in terms of completed work.