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Turkey to privatize key infrastructure: finance minister

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Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has announced plans to privatize select hydroelectric power plants and land owned by the state-run Electricity Generation Corporation (EÜAŞ), the country’s largest electricity producer, as well as a number of ports, highways and bridges.

The announcement came during a parliamentary session focusing on the 2024 budget for his ministry.

While Şimşek did not specify which assets would be included in the privatization program, he stated that no new assets are planned to be added to the scope. EÜAŞ is responsible for 20 percent of Turkey’s electricity production.

The announcement drew sharp criticism from opposition lawmakers, who questioned what public assets remained to be sold. “What is left that you have not already sold? You have sold everything we have,” they responded during the session.

Concerns also arose over the potential impact on tolls if key infrastructure such as the İstanbul-Ankara highway and the İstanbul Bosporus Bridge were to be privatized. Both were originally financed through public funds and offer lower tolls compared to privately operated alternatives. Privatization could lead to a significant hike in tolls, impacting daily commuters and commercial transport.

Şimşek’s announcement follows previous privatizations that have ignited debates about the role of the public and private sectors in Turkey’s economy.

The proposed privatization of assets belonging to EÜAŞ comes amid broader concerns over the increasing financial burden on citizens as the country’s official annual inflation rate peaked at 85 percent last October and climbed back up above 60 percent last month.

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