Let Turks build the roads: Ukrainian Pres­i­dent

Dünya Executive - - BUSINESS - KERIM ULKER

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.

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