Press Releases | April 1, 2022

TDP Asks Fraport AG To Clarify Business Operations in Turkey

Fraport responds with assurance that its Turkish partners follow compliance measures 

(Washington, D.C.) — Fraport AG, a German transport company, has clarified its association with TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS and the Turkish construction and aviation sectors, which are mired in corruption and distorted by the Turkish government’s kleptocratic system of governance.

In Fall 2021, TDP initiated a campaign investigating international companies with links to corrupt Turkish construction firms and dubious government sponsored projects. TDP’s research uncovered connections between Fraport AG (Fraport) and Turkey’s controversial aviation sector.

Fraport is currently managing and operating the Antalya Airport terminals and, in association with TAV Havalimanri Holding AS (TVA), recently won a tender for the Antalya Airport concession for $8.2 billion. To finance the down payment of this sum, Fraport has borrowed as much as $1.7 billion from domestic and foreign banks, including Ziraat Bank. Turkey’s largest state-owned bank, Ziraat has been implicated in a host of illegal activities, including a multibillion-dollar sanctions evasion scheme.

Under President Erdogan, vastly overpriced state contracts are routinely granted to court favorites in noncompetitive tenders for projects that frequently overrun on cost and often inflict severe environmental and social damage. Critics have argued that many of these projects, including Erdogan’s $1.2 billion Presidential Palace or the latest Istanbul New Airport which will cost about $12 billion to Turkish taxpayers, are not needed at all.

The Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Adil Karaismailoğlu, recently stated that a quarter of the rental price for the Antalya Airport concession, amounting to $2.3 billion, will be invested in some of President Erdogan’s other vanity projects, including the controversial Istanbul canal. This $61 billion project has been highly criticized and legally contested by environmental associations for gravely endangering the right of future generations to live in a healthy environment.

Having identified substantial moral and environmental risks to Fraport’s association with Antalya Airport and associated bloated infrastructure projects, TDP sent a letter on February 14, 2022, to Fraport’s Chairman, Dr. Stefan Schulte.

Fraport responded to TDP’s letter clarifying its business operations in Turkey. The company emphasized that being “a pure airport operator”, it did not cooperate with companies involved in corruption and or any other fraudulent activities.

Commenting on Fraport’s response, Ambassador Mark Wallace, CEO of the Turkish Democracy Project, said:

We welcome Fraport’s clarification and its efforts to minimize its exposure to corrupt Turkish companies. Companies which are involved with the Turkish construction and aviation sectors directly and indirectly fund Erdogan’s kleptocracy, which threatens the Turkish people as well as their environment. No prudent and responsible company should continue to do business with sectors known to have these kinds of connections to Erdogan’s government”.