Peace bid ‘to help trade in southeastern Turkey’

Peace bid ‘to help trade in southeastern Turkey’

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Peace bid ‘to help trade in southeastern Turkey’

This file photo shows a long line of Turkish trucks in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Silopi district waiting to enter Iraq via the Habur crossing. DHA photo

Businesspeople from the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia are hopeful about the future, as they believe economic and trade activities in the region will soar due to the peace process.

“The more peaceful a region is, the more trade activities it sees. We hope the problems will be minimized in our region,” said head of the Southeastern Industrialists and Businesspeople Association, Mahmut Odabaşı.

He said it was good for them to see Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visit the city of Diyarbakır to meet the leader of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government, Masoud Barzani, and both made positive comments on the peace process.

“My request from my Kurdish and Turkish brothers is to support the peace project. I want to tell them that we support the peace process with all our heart,” Barzani told the crowd during his first official visit to southeastern Turkey last weekend.

“If sustainable peace can be maintained in the region, there is no reason for the region not to attract much more local and foreign investment,” the head of Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ahmet Sayar.

Sayar noted the exports from Diyarbakır increased over 15 percent after the peace process was started. The share of Northern Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the city’s exports is over 50. While Turkey’s exports to Iraq were valued at $829 million in 2003, they increased up to $8.4 billion during the first nine months of 2013, according to official data.

“Gas and oil from the KRG will be much for economical for Turkey than from Iran or Turkmenistan. Turkey will also make money by transporting these sources,” Odabaşı said.

A majority of businesspeople and tradesmen have perceived the leaders’ messages about the peace process very positively, he noted.

“Turkey has almost no trade relation with Syria right now, but its trade relations with the KRG have been soaring. The sole problem with Turkey’s trade with the KRG is the lack of border gates between the two countries. Because there is only one gate, hundreds of trucks queue,” he said.

Sayar from Diyarbakır said one of the biggest demands from businesspeople in the region is to launch direct flights between Diyarbakır and Arbil to help the trade and economic relations flourish between the two.