The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality awarded tenders worth TL 17 billion ($1.7 billion) to five construction companies in the span of nine years between 2010 and 2018, the Birgün daily reported on Saturday.
According to the report, Makyol Construction, Kalyon Construction, Cengiz Construction and Limak Construction were awarded tenders worth TL 10 billion ($1 billion), TL 6.7 billion ($698 million), TL 1.6 billion ($166 million) and TL 761 million ($79 million), respectively, during the rule of Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
Kolin Construction also was given two joint tenders in the amount of TL 5.4 billion ($562 million) in total, in addition to another one worth TL 194 million ($20 million), Birgün said.
Although Makyol Construction isn’t included, Cengiz Holding, Limak Holding, MNG Holding, Kolin Construction and Kalyon Construction are referred to by the opposition as “the gang of five” for having won nearly all the large tenders during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s time in office.
According to World Bank data, those five firms in Turkey are among the world’s top 10 private sponsors of public infrastructure projects by investment and region and by investment and primary sector for the years 1990 to 2020. The companies have won tenders valued at $30 billion for infrastructure projects in the last four years and constitutes 30 percent of all tenders held for government projects. The remainder of public tenders have been shared among 20,851 companies.
The opposition parties accuse the five businessmen of tender-rigging and claim they are Turkey’s biggest tax evaders.
After Erdoğan’s AKP and its predecessors’ 25-year rule in the country’s largest city and commercial hub, Ekrem İmamoğlu from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) assumed office as the İstanbul mayor, following a decisive victory in a June 24 re-run election in 2019. The election had to be repeated due to the AKP’s objection to İmamoğlu’s initial victory, who won by an even larger margin in the repeat poll.