‘Pay up, Iraq,’ says Turkish contractor

Veziroğlu Construction, the Turkey-based construction company, has asked the Iraqi government to either reinstate the firm’s road building project in the southern part of the country or pay entitled compensation.

Veziroğlu Construction, the Turkey-based construction company, has asked the Iraqi government to either reinstate the firm’s road building project in the southern part of the country or pay entitled compensation.

Chairman Ali Haydar Veziroğlu used an open letter published by the Turkish media yesterday to call on Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to reinstate the firm’s handling of the Diwaniya-Nasiriyah-Samawa highway construction. The Iraqi highway authority was trying to replace the Turkish firm with its own companies, he said.

According to Veziroğlu’s claim, the Iraqi Highway Authority failed to honor the terms of its contract with the firm, which the two parties signed in 2004.

The letter also stated that the Highway Authority failed to provide gas, tar and cement for Veziroğlu Construction. As a result, the company was forced to halt production for seven years, prompting the Highway Authority to revoke the Veziroğlu contract instead of making good on its obligations, he said.

The chairman said the company had sought to redress the matter legally in the Iraqi courts and subsequently won all proceedings and was entitled to $250 million in construction revenues and compensation. Despite the legal victories, however, the Highway Authority has not taken any action to either reinstate the contract or compensate the construction company by paying damages, according to Veziroğlu.

In the letter, Veziroğlu asked the prime minister whether the Iraqi courts’ legal decisions were binding. “If the court rulings are not binding, what legal security do foreign firms have when operating in Iraq?”

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