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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Turkish contractors to build multi-billion riyal highway to Al Khor

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New Al Khor Expressway map
New Al Khor Expressway map

A Turkish contractor has signed a QR7.6 billion (US$2.1bn) deal with Qatar’s government to build a new expressway through Al Khor, QNA reports.

The 34km route will have a total of 10 lanes, 12 viaducts and eight intersections as well as a dedicated pedestrian lane and a motorcycle lane. It will be built by Tekfen Construction, which is part of Tekfen Holding group.

The project is expected to be completed in three years, Turkish news wire Anadolu Agency reported after the agreement was signed in Ankara yesterday.

During an official visit there, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi, Qatar’s minister of Municipality and Environment (MME), inked the deal with Ahmet Arslan, Turkey’s Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications and Tekfen Holding’s Chairman Murat Gigin.

The contract followed a meeting earlier in the day between the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Al Rumaihi to discuss issues including infrastructure, the MME said.

No details have yet been publicly issued on the route for the new highway, or when work is due to start. However, based on the map, it appears the highway will take motorists in and around Al Khor.

Trade deals

This contract is the latest in a series of key road projects undertaken in Qatar by Tekfen.

The company is already working for Ashghal on a QR3.6 billion (US$980 million) four-year deal to upgrade sections of Al Shamal Road. This is due to be finished by the end of this year.

Al Shamal Road work
Al Shamal Road work

Altogether, Turkish contractors have worked on 119 separate projects in Qatar, worth around QR55 billion ($15 billion), according to the Turkish transport minister.

The trading volume between the two states has tripled to QR4.7 billion ($1.3 billion) in the last five years. However, Arslan said he hoped further deals would soon be struck – particularly in the fields of energy and agriculture, AA said.

“The trade (volume) between the two countries does not reflect both nations’ potential. One of the largest energy producers of its region , Qatar can supply Turkey’s energy requirements while Turkey has whatever Qatar needs, especially agricultural products,” Arslan said.

Turkey also aims to expand its existing economic relations with Qatar and eventually hopes to sign a GCC-wide trade agreement with Qatar’s backing, the minister added.

The deal comes amid warm relations between the two states, which regard each other as strong allies.

Strategic relations

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met in Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just two months ago to discuss “strategic relations.”

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkey's President Recep Erdogan
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan

The one-day visit followed an official visit to Qatar by Erdogan last December. This resulted in more than a dozen deals covering aviation, defense, energy and education.

Among the agreements were for Turkey to set up a military base in Qatar, visa-free travel between the two states and a “long-term agreement” for the trade of LNG.

Additionally, Qatar’s Emir was the first world leader to call Erdogan following last month’s failed coup attempt.

At the time, the Gulf state denounced the action as “lawless” and a “violation of the (country’s) constitutional legitimacy.”

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