Istanbul losing ground on bid to becoming finance center

Istanbul losing ground on bid to becoming finance center

The head of the Istanbul organization of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) Aziz Babuşçu spoke to NTV on Nov. 14, saying the project concerning making Istanbul a finance center was proceeding. What Babuşçu meant by “proceeding projects” are, I guess, related to the residence and mall constructions continuing in the areas that have been marked as “There will be a finance center here.” As a matter of fact, realities in life show that Istanbul is not advancing on the road to becoming an international finance center; it is actually going back.

There is research called “The Global Financial Centers Index” prepared by Z/Yen Group. In this list, there are 83 cities and in this year’s research, Istanbul has gone back three places from the 44th to the 47th. 

On CNN’s website from Sept. 19, 2014, a story was posted, listing the “nine finance centers of the future.”

Well, Istanbul is not on the list. At the top of the list is Casablanca, considered the finance center of Morocco. In the general list, Casablanca occupies 62nd place, but is at the first place among the candidates for a finance center in the future because of technology, infrastructure, geographic location and legal developments.

On the second spot is South Korea’s second biggest city, Busan. Seoul’s place on the list of world finance centers is 40 places ahead of us at 7th place.

Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Dalian (China), Qatar, Luxembourg and Zurich are other candidates on the list, but Istanbul is not among them.

We do have a road map titled “Istanbul International Finance Center Strategic Document,” but we have not gone forward, we have gone back.

The reasons are simple: We do not have a properly working justice system, there is no political or legal predictability; no transparency; our taxing system is not objective and corruption cannot be prevented. 

We are living in a country where the president of the country is attempting to bankrupt a bank. The tax auditing system has been transferred into a weapon used against those the government dislikes. Independent institutions formed to regulate the markets are stripped of their independence.
And Babuşçu has come up to explain that the project is proceeding. Well, it is not. It is sailing far away…

Government and its promises

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a press conference and listed measures to be taken related to occupational safety. For a government that has been in power for 12 years, it looks as if they had to wait for hundreds of workers to die to take these steps.

When the coal mine murder happened at Soma in May, it was brought up why Turkey had not signed the ILO protocol concerning mines.

You will remember that the government had promised, in those days, that the contract would be signed as soon as possible.

November is halfway over and there is still no contract signed. Davutoğlu said they would try to pass the contract in the Parliament this week.

Whatever they want, they would include it in an omnibus bill and pass it easily; apparently it is the ILO contract’s turn now. Let us see how long it will take them to keep their promises.