May 22, 2011
Here is a ninth cocktail of articles about Turkey. Please fasten your seatbelts ’cause we are about to take off.
The government is expecting to finalize the construction of seven new airports in Turkey by 2013, according to the State Airports Management General Directorate (DHMI). DHMI head Orhan Birdal said they plan to open four new airports in Hakkari, Sirnak, Bingol and Igdir by the end of this year, with an investment of 550 million liras. The remaining three airports will serve passengers from Mersin, Adana, Afyon and Kutahya.
Saudi Arabia foresees making investments of $600 billion in Turkey during the next 20 years, according to Abdul Kareem Abu al-Nasr, the chairman of National Commercial Bank, the largest Saudi lender.
Investment in Turkey’s agriculture and manufacturing is set to increase, Abu al-Nasr said Wednesday in a presentation that was delivered in Turkey, a copy of which has been obtained by Bloomberg News.
“In the agriculture space, Turkey emerged as one of the top recipients of Saudi investment, as the kingdom seeks to boost its food security,” he said in the document.
Planet Food World will invest $3 billion in Turkish agriculture in the next five years, with the aim of exporting food products to the Gulf region, he added.
The strength of Turkey’s agriculture enabled exports of farm products to Saudi Arabia to increase from $90 million in 2008 to $144 million in 2009, according to Abu al-Nasr.
Turkey and Russia, two former empires, have been rediscovering themselves and becoming major players in the world, but Turkey is better positioned to be a force for stability in the Middle East, according to Dmitri Trenin, director of the Moscow Center of the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Russia has limited interests in the region. There are a few projects that Gazprom and Russian Railways have been implementing in Libya, and some arms trade with Syria and Algeria,” he said yesterday after taking part in a roundtable meeting organized by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). He added that Russia is involved in tourism from Marrakesh to Dubai and that it’s closely watching rising oil prices and the epochal changes in the Arab world. “In the Middle East itself, the Russian Federation, unlike the Soviet Union, has no geopolitical designs,” he said. “Unlike the United States, Russia has no clients in the region to push out, in the name of democracy, or bail out, in the name of strategic interests,” he added.
Turkic countries should create a visa-free travel zone to enhance connections and trade, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday following the signing of an agreement to lift visa restrictions between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan.
“Turkish citizens will be able to visit Kyrgyzstan with their passports without a need for visas and vice versa. The trucks of our countries will be able to travel [across borders] more easily from now on,” Erdoğan told reporters late Tuesday at a press conference with visiting Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev.
Lifting visas with neighboring countries and others in the region constitutes an important element of Turkish foreign policy as embraced by the current government.
Last year’s abolition of visa restrictions with Syria provided a boon for local Turkish economies close to the border, but the current unrest could now prompt a wave of Syrians to flee to Turkey.
A high-level strategic cooperation council between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan has also been established, Erdoğan said. “Kyrgyzstan is going through a tough period and we hope that it will reach brighter days,” the prime minister said.
The Kyrgyz prime minister said Turkey had always supported Kyrgyzstan with donations and humanitarian assistance.
“It was Turkey that evacuated Kyrgyz citizens from Libya [during that country’s unrest,” Atambaev said. “Prime Minister Erdoğan donated $61 million to Kyrgyzstan today. We have received $71 million in donations from Turkey in total this year.”
Noting that Kyrgyzstan would also lift visas with Russia and set up a customs union regime, the Kyrgyz leader said: “We’ll establish a large economic region from Ankara to Moscow.”
Noting that Turkish-Kyrgyz trade volume increased four-fold in the last eight years to reach $160 million, Babacan said: “Our new target is $1 billion, and that is a realistic goal.”
There are approximately 300 Turkish companies operating in Kyrgyzstan with a total investment of around $500 million.
Let’s fly to South America:
Turkey takes the first step in free trade with Latin America.
State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Çağlayan said that they aim to raise trade volume between Turkey and Chile to one billion dollar in two years after the agreement comes into effect.
The free trade agreement consists of arrangements related to many chapters such as lifting of tariff and non tariff barriers, flora and fauna health, intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights.
We are now heading for Africa:
Within the next few years Turkey hopes to double its trade with African countries to $30 billion, said President Abdullah Gul yesterday. At a press conference before leaving for a visit to Ghana and Gabon, Gul said Turkey’s initiative to expand its relations in Africa is based not only on commercial goals but is an integrated policy including development and the growth of the continent. The visit, Gul’s fourth tour of sub-Saharan African countries, will make him be the first-ever Turkish president ever to visit Ghana and Gabon. “We place special importance on improving our relations with African countries,” he said. Turkey’s trade with African countries tripled from $5 billion in 2003 to $16 billion in 2010. “But this isn’t enough,” he added. “Our goal is to make it $30 billion within a few years.”
The already warm friendship between Turkey and Australia has been consolidated even further on the occasion of Anzac Day.
The mayor, Kemal Dokuz of Eceabat, Çanakkale’s township visited Oberon in Sydney which was declared Eceabat’s sister township in 2007.
A two-meter high monument with Atatürk’s speech addressing the Anzac soldiers inscribed on it was unveiled following the dawn ceremony in Oberon.
The mayor, Kemal Dokuz, said as a member of Eceabat, he promised on behalf of everyone in his town that the friendship between the two countries developing more and more with each passing day is going to be maintained.
After the exchange of presents, the Eceabat mayor made a gift to Oberon mayor Keith Sullivan of a replica of the cap worn by the Turkish soldiers back in 1915.
The specially printed three dimensional books were donated to the Anzac museum.
The speeches delivered at the ceremony brought Atatürk’s meaningful words to the fore.
Mayor Dokuz said the war of Dardanelles had a great meaning for the history of both countries.
Oberon which had a population of 400 in 1915 lost 15 of its men in Gelibolu.
The Turkish people might say “no” to European Union membership, just as the Norwegian public did, President Abdullah Gül told Austrian media ahead of his scheduled visit Monday to the European country.
Born in Brittany in 1828, Verne became famous with his novel Five Weeks in a Balloon.
He was credited with forecasting a range of scientific developments, from deep sea exploration to space travel and the moon landings, giving him a nickname “the fortune teller of science”.
Verne wrote stories beyond his time telling the adventures of incredible journeys in the moon or to the centre of the earth.
Besides, he is one of the most translated writers in the world with novels like A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days, 20,000 Leagues, which tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus.
He encompassed diverse regions of the world with his novels, one of which was the story of Ottomans and Turks, “The Headstrong Turk”.
Many of his novels have cinematic adaptations. Jules Verne is regarded as the father of science fiction who merged science and technological innovations with stories of adventures.
Captivating adventures! France is very lucky to have Jules Verne, whereas the UK is very lucky to have John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
Hope you enjoyed the flight.
See you soon aboard Cem Airlines!cem