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Turkey Becomes Global Power in Construction

An army of Turkish cranes and bulldozers is at work across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, building dams, stadiums and highways in a boom that's helping drive Turkey to record growth and bolstering its efforts to become a regional power broker.

Frustrated by slow progress toward joining the European Union, Turkey's Islamic-rooted government is pursuing a strategy intertwining political influence with economic might in the developing world, particularly in Islamic countries and the former Soviet Union but extending in recent years across much of Africa.

Essential to the effort are the Turkish constructions firms at work in more than 80 nations, One is building Dubai's new subway system in a joint venture with Japanese companies. Others are responsible for much of the construction in Kazakhstan and Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq in recent years.

In parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, Turkish flexibility at meeting kickback demands and handling complex laws give them an edge, experts say.