Have five kids, Turkish PM tells Kazakhstan

Have five kids, Turkish PM tells Kazakhstan

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Have five kids, Turkish PM tells Kazakhstan

Minister Zafer Çağlayan (L) and PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan listen to a translated speech at the Kazakh-Turkish Business Forum. Next to them sits Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov. AA photo

While announcing a decision to jointly build a large industrial zone in Kazakhstan to boost trade ties, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan advised Karim Massimov, premier of the rapidly growing Asian nation, to suggest citizens have at least five children for every couple.

Turkey and Kazakhstan will build the mentioned industrial zone together while increasing their bilateral trade volume to $10 billion within a few years, Erdoğan said yesterday at the Kazakh-Turkish Business Forum.

“You know I [call for] at least three children to every couple in Turkey, but you should [call for] at least five children,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.

Noting that Turkey and Turkish businessmen had previously made a substantial number of investments, Erdoğan said during a speech aired live on Kazakh television that the goal was to improve investments even further. “The global [economic] crisis affected relations between Turkey and Kazakhstan, but that was short-lived. Relations have gathered pace with the measures we have taken. We have set a goal to increase our trade volume, which hit $3 billion in 2011, to $10 billion in a few years,” he said, according to Reuters.

The prime minister said mutual investments should be diversified by directing investments to high-potential industries such as energy, mining, defense and agriculture. “It is very important for our businessmen to assume power plant, dam, highway, bridge and port constructions and become more active in terms of deepening economic relations.”

Erdoğan said Turkey could play a significant role in Kazakhstan’s residential sector. “I think Turkey’s housing estate model could be used and improved cooperation in this area [could help] meet Kazakhstan’s growing residential needs.”

Turkish business leaders have conducted $2.5 billion in investments in Kazakhstan, while the total value of projects assumed by Turkish contractors in the Central Asian country is $20 billion, he said.

Erdoğan called on Kazakh businesspeople to take advantage of investment opportunities and incentive packages in Turkey.

The number of reciprocal flights between two countries is slated to increase, Erdoğan said, adding that the more than 300,000 Kazakhs that visited Turkey in 2011 were not enough. Turkish Airlines, the flag carrier, currently flies to Almaty and Astana.

Wasteful economy

Noting that Turkey has now become the 17th largest economy in the world, up from 26th in 2002, Erdoğan said such an economic performance was based on a shift from a state-centered paradigm to one based on the private sector. “Turkey has transformed from a wasteful economy to an efficient economy. The wasteful economy was wearing us down,” he said at the opening session of the 5th Astana Economic Forum, prior the business forum, according to Doğan news agency.

Successes achieved in privatizations have eased private enterprises’ work, he said, adding that the government had lifted all obstacles against them.

He also reiterated his verbal stance against credit rating agencies, which he said should not take an ideological or political approach, saying he would bring the issue to the agenda of the G-20 at their next meeting.

G-20 countries, which bring together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies, should assume more of an active role in producing global solutions to global problems, Erdoğan said. The next leaders’ summit will be held in June in Mexico, which is chairing the G-20 this year.

Massimov said at the meeting that Turkish-Kazakh ties would be enhanced by the new agreements. Turkey’s Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said the Turkish Eximbank would provide long term loans for Turkish businesspeople planning to invest in Kazakhstan.

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