Turkey’s business community welcomes investment package for east, southeast
ANKARA – Anadolu AgencyTurkish business community representatives have heaped praise on the government’s recently announced investment program for the country’s eastern and southeastern regions.
Apart from building hospitals, homes, infrastructure, logistics and education worth nearly 10 billion Turkish Liras ($3.4 billion), the government also plans to provide huge incentives to new real sector investments in the region in the form of free-of-charge factory sites, zero-interest machinery loans and guaranteed purchases, pushing the overall size of the package to $140 billion.
Top business groups have said they would consider these regions for their new investments following the announcement of the “East and Southeast Investment Support Action.”
Bülent Eczacıbaşı, head of the Eczacıbaşı Holding, which operates mainly in the healthcare sector, said the main goal of the support program was to achieve Turkey’s two significant and essential targets: new jobs and more investments.
“We hope eastern and southeastern Anatolia will come into the spotlight for economic progress from now on,” Eczacıbaşı said.
“As investments and newly created jobs increase, our economy will also grow. As our economy grows, our country will also continue its sustainable development,” he added.
The total amount of planned investments will reach $140 billion and annual new employment from them is estimated to hit 40,000, given the size of the commitment of the government, Eczacıbaşı said.
He said the investment support program also had the potential to provide a leverage effect in eliminating the welfare inequality between the country’s western and eastern provinces.
“All these actions will give the east and southeast regions a chance to attract new and different investments in time,” Eczacıbaşı said. “Eastern and southeastern provinces will undoubtedly be in the scope of our new investment plans.”
Ahmet Nazif Zorlu, chief executive officer of Zorlu Holding, said he might consider carrying his company’s production facilities to the east and southeast in the middle-to-long term.
“Such a huge investment package is a very good step. The district will be a center of attraction. When the district’s economy improves, terrorism will vanish. There is no terrorism in Europe as they have a strong economy. We have to do so, too,” Zorlu said.
“Investment worth $140 billion is being mentioned. When terrorism is annihilated, more investment will come to the region. The more attractive the district becomes, the more investment from all over the world will come,” he added.
Hamdi Akın, chairman of the executive board of Akfen Holding, said the package was different from others and added that the package would encourage companies, including his, to move to the east and southeast of Turkey since it offered a guarantee of purchase.
“This package is not like others introduced in the last 10 years. It is a more radical and more applicable package. The profile of investors should be selected very carefully. Income earned from this district has to be spent on new investments and growth, not on counter-terrorism,” Akın said.
Ali Kibar, chairman of Kibar Holding, also welcomed the package but said those resources should not be wasted on investors who had no experience or a good track record.
“If investors do not have a grasp of the sector, they should be guided and offered knowledge. Investors should be selected from among those who are successful in their field in order to provide permanent employment in the region,” Kibar said.
“A lack of job opportunities in the region is one of the reasons for terror. We also are willing to invest in the region,” he added.
Kadooğlu Group head Tarkan Kadooğlu said the approach seen in this package was the way they wanted to see in public-private sector cooperation regarding investments.
“The state giving investors a site for factories free of charge and establishing them are very important issues. Also, we see zero-interest loans for machinery purchases as very positive. Above all, the non-existence of marketing worries is vital,” Kadooğlu said.
Kadooğlu also noted the new package might reverse the migration flow in the region as it would bring an abundance of job opportunities to people seeking jobs.