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Turkey seeks new Ilisu Dam contractors

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THE TURKISH government is looking for civils contractors to deliver the proposed Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River, after UK contractor Balfour Beatty quit the project in November 2001.

Balfour Beatty walked away from the project along with its partner, Italian contractor Impregilo leaving the civil engineering consortium with just three Turkish firms.

The contractors' exit from the consortium follows that of Skanska last September, and has cast doubts over the project's viability. 'The fact that three of the largest international contractors have now pulled out gives very strong signals, ' said a BB spokesman.

Balfour Beatty said that it saw no solution to the commercial, environmental and social obstacles involved in the project. 'No further action or expenditure by Balfour Beatty on this project is likely to resolve the outstanding issues in a reasonable timescale, ' said chief executive Mike Welton.

The major obstacle has been four key conditions set out by the UK's Export Credit Guarantee Agency for guaranteeing loans. These concern resettlement and compensation plans;

architectural and cultural rescue plans; downstream flow of the Tigris River; and purification of the reservoir water when constructed.

A spokesman for the Turkish government said it 'is determined to proceed'.

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