Israeli drip irrigation giant Netafim opened a new factory in Turkey on Thursday despite recent diplomatic tensions between the two countries.The factory will produce the heavier pipes for the many projects the company has in Turkey, with future expansion to supply surrounding European countries an option, the company said. All of the sprinkler heads are still made at kibbutzim.While tension has spiked repeatedly on the diplomatic level over the past year, it has had little effect on commercial relations between the two countries, insiders say, and most Israeli companies continue to do business as usual in Turkey. Netafim has been active for several years in Turkish projects.The cutting-edge factory was established outside Adana in south-central Anatolia, with Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture, Mehdi Eker, and the city’s mayor, Aytac Durak, on hand.“During the past few years, Turkey has grown to become an important arena of great potential. Netafim is committed to supporting Turkish farmers by providing them with the most advanced technologies and know-how, enabling them to achieve yields of higher quantity and quality, while minimizing the use of resources – less water, less fertilizer and less energy,” Eli Shohet, co-CEO at Netafim, said in a statement.Ofer Oved, CEO of Netafim Turkey, added, “One of the objectives of this factory is to help Turkey’s farmers to deal with the water shortage in Turkey, especially in projects that require smart irrigation. During the past few years, Netafim has been involved in agricultural mega-projects across the country, particularly in orchards, vineyards, cotton and vegetable fields and greenhouse projects, and is proud to be part of the country’s irrigation technologies implementation momentum.”Over the past three years, Turkey has begun offering government subsidies to farmers who switch from water-intensive irrigation to more efficient irrigation. Fully a quarter of the country’s population is in agriculture. Turkey’s water supply has declined over the past few years in parallel to Israel. According to media reports, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which originate in Turkey, have been lower in recent years and various cities have even reached the point of water rationing. Turkey, Iraq and Syria held an emergency summit in September to discuss the record low flow rate of the Tigris.That situation throws into doubt the viability of importing water fromTurkey. Israel signed an agreement in 2004 with Turkey to import water,but has never actualized it. Instead, Israel has opted to builddesalination plants along the coast.Netafim is the world’s largest and leading provider of drip andmicro-irrigation solutions. Company sales reached over $600 million in2008. Netafim maintains business ventures in over 110 countries, andoperates through 35 subsidiaries and 13 production facilitiesworldwide. The company has 2,300 employees.