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Turkey drops road privatization plan

Feb. 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Turkey's Finance Ministry says it has dropped plans to privatize toll roads after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a bid of $5.7 billion was too low.

"We will review the privatization offers, for example, for the highways or bridges. We have much bigger expectations," Erdogan said before the decision was announced.

The bid was the second-highest privatization bid in Turkish history, Hurriyet Daily News reported Saturday. It involved privatization of toll roads that included toll collection on suspension bridges over the Istanbul Strait, also known as the Bosphorus.

Turkey's toll roads pulled in $445 million in 2012, the General Directorate of Highways reported in January.

Turkey plans to build a third bridge over the straits.

The plan is to relieve traffic pressure on other bridges and provide better access to an airport being built north of Istanbul.

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