ANKARA Feb 20 Libya will ensure Turkish firms
forced to abandon their work during the Libyan revolution two
years ago are paid and will offer incentives for them to return,
the two country's prime ministers said on Wednesday.
Turkish construction firms are heavily active in countries
across the Middle East and North Africa but were forced to put
projects on hold in Libya during the revolt that ousted dictator
Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he had discussed
the question of compensation with his Libyan counterpart Ali
Zeidan during the Libyan prime minister's trip to Ankara.
"(Zeidan) said they will solve the issues about progress
payments and compensation with our ministers," Erdogan told a
joint news conference.
"We said we wish our construction companies to go back to
Libya to complete their unfinished projects. We are pleased to
see the same desire from Libya."
Erdogan has presided over Turkey's emergence as a power in
the Middle East over the past decade and championed the
pro-democracy uprisings of the "Arab Spring", which saw
dictatorships unseated in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
His government is keen to position Turkey, whose
construction sector is heavily engaged in frontier and emerging
markets in Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as a key
player in rebuilding the region's post-conflict economies.
Zeidan said he had met several Turkish companies and had
promised Libya would make progress payments and ensure firms
were fully compensated once their work was completed.
Turkey evacuated some 3,000 of its nationals from Libya in
February 2011 as violence engulfed the North African country,
many of them working for construction firms which had more than
$15 billion worth of projects there.
Erdogan said Turkey's trade volume with Libya currently
stood at around $2.5 billion, a level both countries were keen
(Reporting by Seltem Iyigun; Writing by Nick Tattersall;
editing by Ron Askew)