Greek islands have much to offer Turkish investors

Greek islands have much to offer Turkish investors

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Greek islands have much to offer Turkish investors

Greece has around 3,000 islands, only a small portion of which are inhabited. AP photo

Turkish businesses are expected to show great interest in Greek islands that will be opened to investors as a part of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ government’s plans to overcome the lingering economic crisis, according to professionals from both countries. Future investments may lead the two sides of the Aegean Sea to cooperate in the tourism business.

The Turkish Tourism Investors’ Association (TYD) has been receiving various offers from Greece since last year, chairman Turgut Gür told Anatolia news agency. “Particularly the heads of trade chambers in Athens and Thessaloniki applied to us for cooperation.“

“Come and manage a facility here or enable us in terms of capital by buying shares and let’s run the businesses together, they tell us. But we were not interested that much by then.”

But a government plan to privatize islands, as Samaras announced last month, would attract Turkish investors, Gür said.

Need for regulation

“If they can submit a clear regulation then we can go and invest there. The situation of the islands in the Aegean Sea would interest Turkey most.”

However, it was still unclear how Greece would monetize the islands and islets that are not inhabited today. There are about 3,000 Greek islands, and most of them have no infrastructure, he noted.

Turks are closely interested in properties on Greek islands, according to Alexos Roros, an executive at Greek Island Properties on the island of Skopelos. “We also expect this to rise soon. The number of tourists from Turkey also increased this year. This will support demand from Turkish investors for real estate on the islands.”

Another hot topic on Greece’s privatization agenda is the sale of 23 ports and marinas in the country. The Greek Finance Ministry has recently authorized an official assets development fund for the sale of these facilities.

Limak Holding, a Turkish investor also active in the ports business, is interested in the issue, according to board member Serdar Bacaksız.

“We have companies investing in tourism businesses across the world from Turkey to the Maldives. One should also observe the reflections of Greek-Turkish political ties, which sometimes get tense,” he said

The Greek plan offers Turkish investors global opportunities, according to Selim Egeli, head of the Turkish-Greek Business Council within the body of Turkey’s Ministry of Development and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK).

I hope Turkish investors will be interested in [Greek privatization plans] and build facilities there like the ones they have built in Turkey,” he told Anatolia.