Private company executive to head Turkish railways after granted EUR 40m deal

Five months after his company was granted a 40 million Euro privatization deal with Turkish state railways (TCDD), Murat Atik is named new chairman of TCDD by midnight presidential decree on Sep. 3.

Duvar English

Following the dismissal of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) chairman Ali İhsan Uygun by presidential decree, Sun Group chairman Abdülkerim Murat Atik has been appointed to the post.

The appointment follows the granting of Turkey’s first railroad privatization contract to Sun Group, a deal valued at 40 million euros. Atik’s appointment is expected to further accelerate TCDD’s privatization efforts. 

Uygun was dismissed by a midnight degree on Sep. 3, as announced by the Turkish Official Gazette reported. Uygun was made chairman in February 2019, having served on the board of TCDD since 2015.

It is suspected that both TCDD’s interest in privatization as well as his inability to oversee the completion of the Ankara-Sivas high speed railway played a role in Uygun’s dismissal. The opening ceremony for the line was delayed seven times, most recently due to structural deficiencies. 

Atik, as chairman of Japan-based Sun Group, oversaw the granting of Turkey’s first private rail transport license to the holding company.

According to reporting by online news portal T24, the license was granted in December 2020 and a deal with Sun Group for the development of Turkey’s first luxury sleeper rail line to Cappadocia Express - valued at 40 million euros - was finalized in April 2021. At the deal’s signing, Atik expounded on the luxury of the coming private rail lines. 

“The cars that will be used in this adventure, starting with the Cappadocia Express, will all be sleeper cars crafted like 5-star hotels,” he said.

The Cappadocia Express, which will be developed jointly with HIS Turkey, is expected to be the first in a series of private railways developed under Atik’s tenure.