Turkey’s top business group develops project to decrease income gap between east, west
AA PhotoTurkey’s prominent Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSİAD) has developed a project to close the income gap between the country’s southern and southeast region, which have a per capita income of around $4,000 annually, and western regions, with a per capita income around $16,000, said vice chairman Sedat Şükrü Ünlütürk, who runs the project to maintain economic support for the peace process.
“The national per capita income is around $4,000 in the 14 provinces in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country, yet the figure increases to $16,000 in the western provinces. This is a huge gap,” he said, as reported by daily Cumhuriyet Feb. 3.
He noted the unemployment rate is over 20 percent in the east of the country, while it is around 10 percent in the west, which has a significant technological ability.
“We reflected upon how we could unite these regions in economic terms,” he said in his exclusive interview with Cumhuriyet.
On the road to reaching this target, the project’s players have held a series of meetings with local businesspeople in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Mardin, Midyat, Batman, Şırnak and Siirt, he said.
“We talked about how they could grow their businesses and heard what business difficulties they have faced. We continue to meet them to define their needs, to help them meet with their counterparts in the west and to develop joint projects in a time period over a decade,” he said.
He also noted state incentives have not helped eastern Turkey’s development process. “Turkish businesspeople invest in Siberia, even the African deserts, but not in eastern Turkey... This shows us the region is not that attractive for investors, despite the incentives,” he said.
“We would like to contribute to the welfare of the region,” he said, noting security is still a big issue.