Turkey calls for Greece to make Aegean a ‘sea of happiness’ through closer economic ties
Erdinç Çelikkan - ANKARA
CİHAN photoTurkish companies are planning to invest in struggling neighbor Greece in the agricultural, manufacturing, tourism, construction and transportation sectors, as part of a joint program between the two countries.
“We can turn the Aegean Sea into a sea of happiness by using tourism sites in the region together. Let’s act together in economic terms rather than compete with each other,” Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has stated in a short brief about recent economic contacts between Athens and Ankara.
The Economy Ministry has accelerated its moves to build stronger trade ties with cash-strapped Greece in cooperation with the Greek authorities. The five sectors defined by the Turkish and Greek authorities in previous meetings include tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and transportation sectors. At planned upcoming business forums in both countries, business circles from the each will have the opportunity to build closer relations and create new projects, according to ministry officials.
“We can work together to use the Aegean Sea together. By developing plans to use the tourism sites in the region, we can turn the Aegean region into a global tourism center. The Aegean could become a sea of happiness in economic terms as well,” said Zeybekci.
He added that he had met the former Greek economy minister twice before Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ cabinet was established.
Meanwhile, in the worst days of concern over the potential Greek default and “Grexit” at the end of June, groups of prominent Turkish and Greek businessmen gathered on the Greek island of Rhodes to brainstorm ways to further boost their annual $5.5 billion trade.
The field trip was organized by the Office for Commercial and Economic Affairs of the Embassy of Greece in Ankara and the General Consulate of Greece in İzmir.
The visiting delegation comprised of diplomats, mostly deputy heads of mission and economic counselors in Ankara and İzmir, from 22 countries from the EU and the Americas.