Turkey's new investment support and promotion agency this week kicked off in Israel a global campaign to lure and assist local companies considering investments in Turkey, the sixth largest economy in the European Union.
"Turkey is a natural expansion country for Israeli businesses in terms of its geographic proximity, shared interests and values and as a strategic base for production and expansion to Europe and central Asia," said Alpaslan Korkmaz, president of the investment support and promotion agency of Turkey in Tel Aviv on Monday. "The new agency is a one-stop-shop providing expert services needed for setting up or expanding business in Turkey."
During the two-day visit, Korkmaz, met with 13 leading Israeli companies including Bank Hapoalim, Africa Israel and Delek to discuss investment opportunities.
The agency operates through a team of 30 professionals speaking 10 languages with local representatives placed in the countries of strategic economic interest such as Israel, where the agency has already appointed Modi Ashkenazy as its representative.
"We have received much interest from mature Israeli companies seeking to explore new markets and opportunities for their business and from companies that already have business relations in the country and are seeking to expand them," Korkmaz said. "There is a huge amount of know-how in Israel and we want to share this wealth for example in the field of agro-engineering or food processing."
Turkey's economy has been growing rapidly over the past five years with an annual average GDP growth of 7.4 percent thanks to structural reforms in the public and financial sectors. As a result of the sweeping changes, the country's economy saw some $33 billion in foreign direct investment flow into the country over the past three years. Of that amount, 39.3% was invested in the financial sector, 37.2% in transport, storage and telecommunications and 10% in the manufacturing sector. In the first half of 2007, the flow of foreign direct investments into Turkey continued to boom totaling $11.9b.
Over the past 5 years, bi-lateral trade between Israel and Turkey has grown by 57% to $2.2b. in 2006, while the number of Israeli companies operating there reached 188.
The Turkish electricity energy sector is expected to receive annual investments totaling $1.5b.-$1.8b. in the next three years, according to a study by the Energy Research Unit of the Energy Water and Gas Syndicate of Turkey. However, this number provides only half of the needs of the private and public energy sectors, which need investments of at least $3b. a year, according to the study.
"Turkey is the energy corridor and terminal between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East," noted Korkmaz.