Investors flock to east in hopes of Kurdish peace
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ergün says more firms invest in east and southeast on hopes of peace. AA photoThe industrial zones in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces are running out of space due to a high and rapid demand triggered by the recent efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, according to Industry Minister Nihat Ergün.
Industrial zones located in the area of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), the massive ongoing irrigation and development program in the region, have seen 1,342 demands from investors, with the total volume of such investment amounting to 10 billion Turkish Liras, Ergün told Anatolia news agency in an interview published yesterday.
The industrial zones there have already started works to expand their areas, he added.
The recently implemented incentive program, which grants the best tax opportunities to investments in the east and southeast, is a part of efforts to enliven the economy there, while also improving democratic conditions, Ergün said.
”After the [announcement of the] incentive program, the demand in industrial zones increased seriously,” he said. “A total of 2,955 investors demanded places in these zones. Some 1,342 of them are in the southeastern region, 647 of them are in the eastern region, and 294 are in the Black Sea region,” he said.
Data from a real estate company that is active in the region showed that the interest in plots was not only limited to the industrial zones.
Hakan Erilkun, general manager of Altın Emlak, said Diyarbakır, which is largely populated Kurds, is leading the demand in real estate.
Prices of plots and land in places close to the center of Diyarbakır have jumped 50 times in the last five years,” Erilkun said in a written statement yesterday. “A hectare of land close to the city center sells for 950,000 Turkish Liras.”
Agriculture fields have also seen an increase in demand, he said, adding that rumors about upcoming American investments were also increasing transactions.
Some 170 foreign investors have applied for incentives in the southeastern province of Mardin alone, he also said.
Meanwhile, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan also noted that the demand in southeastern provinces had increased radically. He said the ministry had prepared authorization documents for 504 companies in March, amounting to a fixed investment volume of 12.9 billion liras. This volume is 22.6 billion liras for the first quarter.
Some 479 of these companies are local, he added.