Turkey awaits the new nuclear bid

Turkey is getting ready to choose a winning tender for its second nuclear plant and Istanbul’s third airport as early as tomorrow, amid a firesale of many state assets, including a key port in Istanbul and Turkey’s railroads,

Two high-profile tenders are expected to be finalized tomorrow, one for Istanbul’s third airport and the other for the second nuclear plant in Turkey, in the Black Sea province of Sinop.

The tender to build the third airport in Istanbul is set to be made at Ankara Esenboğa Airport tomorrow. Until now, 15 Turkish and two foreign companies have bought the tender specification document for Istanbul’s third airport, which was valued at around 7 billion euros ($9 billion) by Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Many of Turkey’s leading companies, from Sabancı Holding to TAV, İÇ Holding and Limak Holding, had declared their interest in the tender. In order to spark competition for the third airport, the Transportation Ministry introduced some amendments to the specifications last week. The changes made in the specifications included lifting the three-company limit for consortiums and the requirement that a dominant partner own a 51 percent share.

Following the finalization of the tender approval, the first phase of construction is set to be completed in 2017 and will provide an initial capacity of 90 million passengers a year. Once all six of the planned runways are complete, the capacity is expected to increase to 150 million passengers. The tender, however, has been taken to court by the head office of the Turkish Chamber of Environmental Engineers (ÇMO) of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects on the grounds that the project violated the existing legislation for the environmental impact assessment (ÇED) report preparation.

In the race to build Turkey’s second nuclear plant, a Japanese-French partnership appears one step ahead of its Chinese rival; the official announcement of the winning bid is expected by the end of this week, most likely tomorrow.

“The Japanese bid has the advantage, but there is still one or two issues that we need to work on together,” Energy Ministry sources told the Hürriyet Daily News April 29. “We believe that we will find a common way when [Japanese Prime Minister] Shinzo Abe comes to Turkey [May 3].”

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said last week that Ankara would announce by the weekend who would construct the country’s second nuclear plant, a project located in the Black Sea province of Sinop that is expected to cost around $22 billion. Abe is expected to arrive in Turkey late this evening and will meet with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tomorrow. An agreement on the construction of the nuclear plant will be signed after the two prime ministers meet, Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported last week.

There have been various reports in the Japanese media citing unnamed government sources in recent weeks claiming that Japanese firms would build the Sinop plant. The construction of the plant in Sinop is to start in 2017. Turkey plans to have three nuclear plants by 2023.