World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey hosted the ninth Turkish-Arab Economic Forum in Istanbul on Wednesday, an event which gathered foreign ministers, prominent public and private sector decision-makers, visionaries and strategists from Turkey and Arab countries for a wide range of agenda-setting discussions.
Starting with a discussion of the economic challenges facing Arab world facing the aftershocks of the uprisings often called the "Arab Spring," the forum sought the stability and clarity which are necessary to move forward and explore investment opportunities in Turkey, particularly in the banking and real estate sectors.
Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said the forum is an excellent networking platform for those interested in investing in Turkey.
Simsek said that Turkey serves as an efficient and cost-effective bridge to major markets across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as serving as a natural bridge for East-West and North-South trade.
"Istanbul is becoming a global capital. We made significant economic reforms in Turkey. It is clear that political stability is a very important factor in Turkey’s ten years of success," Simsek said.
Simsek said that the Arab world is waking up and democracy, wealth and stability will spread, added, "The biggest problem in the MENA region is unemployment, but I think they will overcome it with economic reforms, similar to Turkey."
Inviting Arabic countries to invest in Turkey, Simsek added, "United we stand, divided we fall."
Ummaya Toukan, Jordan's Minister of Finance, said the forum played a crucial role in enhancing Turkish-Arab relations, which have been lagging for more than half a century.
"Nobody can ignore that Turkey is a big international market. The economic relationships between Turkey and the Arab world are improving," Toukan said. "The Arab world needs Turkey as a financial hub to Europe and other parts of the world, and it can bring a lot of customers to invest."
Indicating that the Arabic world should come together and debate the relevant issues of the region, Toukan said, "Despite the political problems within Arab countries, l think economic growth in the Arab world will continue in a positive direction."
Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said on Wednesday that the inflation rate will fall after June.
Answering questions from reporters at the ninth Turkish Arab Economic Forum in Istanbul, Simsek said, "Turkey's inflation rate will decline with the figures to be announced in June, but it will start to fall after June within the bounds of the predictions of Central Bank of Turkey." Stating that on principle, he does not comment on the the politics of the Central Bank, Simsek said, "I believe that the bank is doing and will continue to do the best for Turkey. So, the independence and credibility of the CBT is really important and critical for the country."
TurkStat said in April that Turkey’s annual inflation rate accelerated to 8.3 percent in March of 2014, from 7.8 a year earlier and 7.2 percent recorded in February of 2014, as food and transportation costs increased by the highest rate in eight months.
Simsek evaluated the third Istanbul airport project, projected to be the largest airport in the world with a 100 million passenger annual capacity, said,"As far as I follow from the press, the foundations will be laid in June. If so, this means that the problems on the bridge issue are solved. The third airport is indispensable for Turkey." Noting that the international passengers numbers reached 73.3 million with a rise of 11.8 percent in 2013, Simsek said Ataturk Airport is working over capacity, adding "The third airport will take the load off Ataturk Airport’s shoulders."
Istanbul's Ataturk Airport remains in top spot among the busiest airports in Turkey with 17.2 million domestic flight passengers, while Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Istanbul's main air hub on the Asian side of the city, is second with 11.9 million domestic flight passengers. Esenboga Airport in capital Ankara is the third busiest with 9.3 million domestic flight passengers annually.Last Mod: 28 Mayıs 2014, 15:48