CEB and Turkey sign a € 217 million loan in favour of the Marmaray Project and discuss prospective activities for 2008-2011

24 June 2008

ISTANBUL - CEB is extending a € 217 million loan to the Republic of Turkey to part-finance the Marmaray Project, the trans-Bosphorus rail link aimed at significantly improving the urban transport network of Istanbul, one of the world’s fastest growing metropolises.

The Marmaray Project will supply a 76-km uninterrupted fixed public transport link across the Istanbul Strait, thus contributing to a sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution to current pollution, congestion and public transport problems in the Istanbul metropolitan area. The CEB loan will be allocated to the part of the project related to the construction and modernisation of the railway lines running along the Asian and European banks of the Istanbul Strait. The project is expected to play a key role in strengthening social cohesion and enhancing living conditions by enabling Istanbulites to enjoy access to a modernised, safer and faster public transport system.

Undersecretary of Treasury İbrahim H. Çanakcı and Transportation Ministry Undersecretary Mehmet Habip Soluk attended the loan signature ceremony today in Istanbul. CEB Governor Raphaël Alomar underlined the importance for CEB to contribute to the financing of such a major public transport project which is a high priority for the Turkish Government and will represent a breakthrough in improving the quality of life of inhabitants in one of Europe’s largest urban areas. 

The Marmaray line, which is expected to be used by over one million passengers per day as of its first year of operations, could become one of the busiest urban rail links in the world. CEB which will be co-financing the Project’s Commuter Rail components with the European Investment Bank (EIB) is ready to support the Project with a total loan of EUR 500 million. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is financing the Project’s cross-Bosphorus tunnel component. 

Turkey is one of the eight founding members of CEB and ranks as the fifth largest shareholder of the Bank with a 7% share in the capital. Since the inception of CEB’s activities in 1956, about EUR 5.4 billion were approved in favour of projects in Turkey in almost all of the Bank’s fields of action. Over the past decade, CEB financing in Turkey has focused on projects related to natural disasters, rural modernisation, protection of the environment, health, and job creation in SMEs.

This visit will also be an opportunity to discuss CEB’s Operational Framework outlining the Bank’s prospective activities in Turkey until 2011. CEB’s envisaged operations in Turkey are expected to continue to focus on co-financing of government supported investments in order to meet the country’s development objectives and support its long-term economic growth.  CEB will consider approving up to EUR 1.5 billion in new loans to finance public and private projects in Turkey over the 2008-2011 period subject. The actual amount of CEB financing until 2011 will be determined by an in-depth assessment and adequate preparation of each project and their final approval by the CEB’s Administrative Council.

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