Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund will invest in petrochemicals, coal and gold mining this year as it seeks to reduce the country’s reliance on key imported goods, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
The fund is starting projects that will cost $15 billion over the next five years, chief executive officer Zafer Sönmez said.
The Turkey Wealth Fund (TWF) will announce construction tenders for a coal-fired power plant, choosing between seven Chinese companies who have entered a so-called “data room” for the project, Sönmez said.
It will also select a foreign partner for a petrochemicals project in Iskenderun in southern Turkey and intensify exploration for gold in 20 license areas acquired from the government, he said.
The TWF, established in 2016, is chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It controls Turkey’s largest public sector enterprises and took over Turkcell, the biggest mobile phone operator, last year. Three state-run banks are also in its portfolio.
Turkey is seeking to reduce its reliance on imported energy products and other commodities such as gold to narrow its current account deficit, which widened to more than 5 percent of economic output last year.
Turkish opposition political parties have criticised the TWF’s creation, saying it amounts to an attempt by Erdoğan to wrest public enterprises from state control and parliamentary oversight. Erdoğan says the fund is needed to help Turkey achieve its economic growth goals and to ensure strategic investments in the economy.