Chinese eager to build third bridge in Istanbul

Today’s Zaman – The Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan said that the Chinese are willing to take part in the construction of Istanbul's third bridge over the Bosphorus "either as a contractor or jointly with a Turkish company or by funding it." Flying to Beijing for official talks, Caglayan met with China's Trade Minister Chen Deming. After the meeting, Caglayan disclosed the agreed topics ahead of the joint economic commission slated for September 27 and 28 in Beijing. He stated that the Chinese are eager to be involved in the construction of the third bridge over the Bosporus, and while the Chinese ambassador had informed him of their intention to do so, he wanted to confirm this by meeting with the Chinese trade minister. He indicated that he had listened to the views expressed by the Chinese concerning the third bridge. "We have a free market economy, and our market is open for their potential involvement. I told the Chinese Trade Minister that they are free to go ahead. The tender specifications are known. I see no potential obstacles", he said. Caglayan explained further that China said they may participate in the project as a contractor or jointly with a Turkish company and that they also offered to provide financial support as another option. Caglayan also indicated that Turkish banks and Chinese Eximbank may sign a partnership deal that will ensure a greater flow of long-term loans from Eximbank to energy investments in Turkey. He added that they also agreed that the Chinese bank should open a branch in Turkey and make a deal with Turkey’s Halk Bank for the provision of funds via this bank. This agreement will allow Eximbank to provide financial support to Turkey’s Halk Bank, which would in return give loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Turkish exporters. Caglayan said that Chinese automobile brands Chery and Geely are preparing to invest in Turkey. "They have made some solid progress in terms of investing in various provinces in Turkey", he said. Turkey intends to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) with China, and Caglayan disclosed that during their meeting, he had conveyed Turkey's intention of making a preferential trade agreement as soon as an opportunity arises.