Jan 14, 2009, 6:06 AM
It would be recalled that during the historic state visit to Turkey early this year of President Yahya Jammeh, he invited members of the business community in Turkey to explore the vast opportunities in The Gambia.
Ever since, the number of Turkish investors visiting Banjul has risen significantly.
Among them is the owner and chairman of the Board of Kuanta Construction Company, Bulent Kilincarslan, who just visited Banjul.
His Kaunta Company does many construction projects, including airport construction, its main area of expertise.
The company also has its aviation business, with jets and air ambulances.
Due to the company’s international recognition, it has been awarded many contracts to construct airports in various countries.
The latest airport constructed by the company is in Tanzania, and it is now constructing an airport in Uganda.
In his engagements in the country during his visit, the top Turkish investor was accompanied by Ambassador Soner to meetings with the Secretary to Cabinet, Nuha Touray, the Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Hon. Ousman Badjie, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Hon. Abdou Jobe, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs,Abdoulie Jallow, Director General of Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, Abdoulie Jammeh and the acting Managing Director of Gambia International Airlines, Ebrima Sallah.
During the meetings, the Turkish ambassador revealed that President Yahya Jammeh asked him “to find the right person with the right company to construct a second ‘modern’ airport in The Gambia.”
He announced that he could not find someone else better than Bulent Kilincarslan and his Kuanta Construction Company.
In this regard, he expressed gratitude to Kuanta for honouring his invitation.
The ambassador also highlighted Kuanta’s interest in the construction of a second modern airport for The Gambia, by pointing out that this was Mr Kilincarslan’s second visit to The Gambia within six months.
He also noted that the company has interest in some of the ongoing projects at the existing airport, such as the Cargo Complex Project.
Both the diplomat and visiting investor said that Kuanta is a powerful global company which is ready to provide 100 per cent financing for construction of the second modern airport.
They stressed the need for the relevant Gambian authorities to provide a state guaranty in the form of an MoU to kick-start the construction process.
The company is only waiting for the greenlight from the relevant Gambian authorities to start feasibility studies.
Ambassador Soner reiterated his desire to have more business, and increased technical assistance between Turkey and The Gambia.
He said he would continue to lure Turkish investors to this country.
He cited his ongoing negotiations with authorities of Turkish Airlines to have direct flights from Istanbul to Banjul, which according to him would help create an influx of rich Turkish tourists to The Gambia.
The teaming up of a modern airport, new hotels at the seaside and good infrastructure leading to these hotels would be very helpful in the development of the tourism sector of the country, he pointed out.
Mr Kilincarslan also exchanged ideas with the relevant authorities at the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, with regards to the possibility of establishing an aviation training school; connecting the new modern airport to be built to the old one; aircraft maintenance hangers, a fail safe/contingency plan, and so on.
Ambassador Soner and Mr Kilincarslan are said to be expecting a speedy feedback on the technicalities involved, and have both expressed their gratitude to all those who received them.
They were not only received warmly, but were encouraged by those who received them in their offices, according to them.