Sale of three Turkish state-owned sugar plants cancelled


The sale of three sugar plants in central Turkey has been cancelled, the head of Turkey’s Food and Sugar Industry Workers Union said on Thursday, Duvar news site reported .

The privatisation of Turkey’s state-owned sugar factories have been on the agenda since 1999, but the Turkish government avoided taking steps for their sale until 2017.

The government announced in February that it would collect bids for 14 state-owned sugar plants in Central Anatolia. At the time, there were 33 sugar factories operating in Turkey, with 25 owned by the state. The government planned to accept bids for the 14 state-owned factories but only five of the privatised plants would reportedly continue to operate after the sales were completed.

The union’s head Mustafa Onay said that the sales of the Burdur, Yozgat, and Ilgın factories were cancelled on Wednesday after the bidding companies extended the process three times.

Islamist newspaper Milli Gazete said that most of the bids should have been cancelled months ago as the bidding firms did not fulfil the obligations set by Turkey’s privatisation authority. Instead the privatisation authority allowed the firms to extend the process by violating the tender specifications, it said.

Hüseyin Akay, the head of a sugar beet cooperative in the central province of Kayseri said the privatisation of the companies was improperly managed.

“In my opinion the privatisation was not managed in a proper way. First of all, there were no rules for proving the purchasers’ competence, and also the timing was not right,” he said during a television program on Bloomberg HT on Wednesday.

Following the government’s decision to collect bids for the privatisation of sugar plants, the union collected 1.7 million signatures calling for the reversal of the decision.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has repeatedly opposed the plants’ privatisation. In April, he organised a rally to condemn the sales, recalling that the sugar plants marked the achievements made in the early days of the Turkish Republic.

“Sugar plants have strategic importance, they cannot be sold,” he said.

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