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Turkish Contractors Sue Turkmenistan For $600 Million In Unpaid Fees

The luxurious Hotel Oguzkent in Ashgabat, just one of many large-scale projects completed during the recent construction boom in Turkmenistan
ASHGABAT -- Three Turkish construction companies operating in Turkmenistan have brought legal action against the Turkmen government over outstanding payments amounting to $600 million, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

The firms -- Ickale Insaat Limited, Kilic Insaat Ihracat Sanayi, and Ticaret Anonym -- have registered their cases at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a Washington-based arbitration body.

A representative of one of the companies affected told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity that his firm fulfilled part of its contractual obligations, but then the remaining work was cancelled without any explanation.

"It is really very surprising; a lot of companies were suffering," he said.

The Turkish construction company Polimeks, by contrast, has not experienced any such problems.

The construction boom that started under the late President Saparmurat Niyazov, encompassing luxurious palaces and government buildings, along with apartment buildings, schools, and kindergartens, is continuing under his successor, President Berdimuhamedov. Most of the work is being done by Turkish construction firms.

The French company Bouygues, built a string of luxury hotels for Niyazov was only ever paid for completing one contract after it signed a new one.