Economy minister says Turkey to teach Palestine ‘how to fish’
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Palestine Business Forum was held in Istanbul on Feb. 7. AA PhotoThe Palestinian economy should be improved through better domestic production and not through donations alone, the Turkish and Palestinian economy ministers have said.
“The most important thing we must do for Palestine is this: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ That’s how we look at Palestine,” Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said at the Palestine Business Forum held in Istanbul on Feb. 7.
The minister said he would like to see Palestine “back on its feet,” and “reach a state where it can rebuild itself.”
“I want people, especially young people, children and girls to have a future. If the young people [in Palestine] do not have a dream about the future, then there is only one thing left: violence,” he said.
To this end, Zeybekci said Turkey was ready to abolish visas for Palestinian business leaders. “It is not appropriate to ask for a visa from Palestinian businessmen who want to come to Turkey. We will do whatever it takes to put an end to this.”
Zeybekci also underlined the importance of increasing the trade volume between the two countries, and in particular, the volume of imported goods from Palestine.
“Right now, Turkey exports $280 million worth of goods to Palestine whereas the imports are only worth $5 million. This must change,” Zeybekci said, adding that Turkey would like to help reverse this trend.
“We already have a free trade agreement between us, and we are ready to do whatever we can to extend its scope,” he said.
Palestine eyes industrial boost
Palestinian National Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa said they needed to strengthen the country’s economy and increase the share of the national industry from 13 to 25 percent of the economy.
“There has been an increase in unemployment and a drop in national income since we are dependent on Israel. So we need to strengthen our national economy,” he said, adding that this must not be achieved through donations, but through domestic production.
Mustafa said the Palestinian government was also working to “integrate Gaza back into the national economy” as it had a “significant share prior to Israel’s embargo.”
“Israel does not let us rebuild Gaza, but we won’t give up. We will rebuild Gaza despite all the difficulties,” Mustafa said.
The minister also vowed to rebuild al-Quds, another name for Jerusalem.
“Likewise, the economy of al-Quds is also under Israeli embargo. Al-Quds is the capital of the Palestinian state. And its economy is the economy of the Palestinian state. Therefore, we will rebuild it just like we will Gaza,” he said.