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ECONOMICS > Ministers’ busy day with businessmen

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

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Ali Kayalar Ali Kayalar ali.kayalar@hurriyet.com.tr

A number of Turkish Cabinet ministers are interested in convincing global companies to invest locally, and their efforts are bearing fruit, as foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey continues to rise despite international economic woes.

Yesterday’s busy schedule of meetings in Ankara indicated the Cabinet’s direction on foreign investment, with even Bülent Arınç, a deputy prime minister who essentially focuses on politics and social issues rather than trade and money, hosting business groups. He met with Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD) chair Nail Olpak, Merrill Lynch Turkey General Manager Banu Başar and BlackRock fund manager Samuel Vecht back-to-back.

The ministers’ schedules were so packed that even Beşir Atalay, another deputy prime minister who usually avoids commenting on the economy, hosted Bosnian Foreign Trade and Economy Minister Mirko Sharovic during a ceremony to sign a protocol. Atalay later joined a meeting of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s EU minister, was visiting Germany’s Commerce and Investment Union in Berlin. Industry Minister Nihat Ergün’s schedule included a meeting with construction-equipment companies before an opening ceremony for a number of facilities in the capital city of Ankara. Also yesterday, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, accompanied by Labor Minister Faruk Çelik, was promoting the new incentives system that aims at boosting local and foreign investments.

Jump in investments
FDI in Turkey’s industrial sector in the first quarter was up 251 percent over the same period a year earlier, reaching nearly $2.5 billion, according to Central Bank data. Overall FDI in the first quarter reached $3.9 billion, the bank also says. The volume might climb even further starting in the third quarter, mainly due to the new incentive system that went into effect last week.

Turkish Cabinet members, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, are keen to be directly involved in increasing investment in the country. The government is not only saying, “Let them do it,” but is actively pushing for investment. Economic growth figures have long played an important part in the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) political discourse, and the economy has become one of the government’s strongest areas. This explains why government members’ speeches on political or international issues frequently include economic and financial achievements, even when they appear irrelevant at first glance.

June/28/2012

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