Turkey to hire lands to foreign funds

Alpaslan Korkmaz says there has been increasing activity regarding the agency’s studies for the last two months.

Hurriyet | 3 January 2010


ANKARA - Referans

The Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey has been involved in talks for the past year with “three big international funds” in order to hire agricultural lands, the agency’s chairman has said.

“Lands that could be improved will be included in the project without being sold. All investments will be left to the state, while the investor leaves the country 25 or 30 years later,” said Alpaslan Korkmaz, chairman of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey.

“There will be many positive developments soon,” said Korkmaz, adding that agriculture and food processing projects constitute a major chance for Turkey. Noting that 2009 has been a year of opportunity in this respect, Korkmaz said the agency has been involved in talks with some funds for the past year.

The model has already been designated by now. “We are in the final stage [of talks] with three big funds. One of them will be announced very soon. We have finished and managed to offer the project within one year. Among the areas we have chosen, there are some improvable lands, but no land will be sold. And all investments will be left to the state 25 to 30 years later. This way, we will both create employment and establish facilities and enable revival in supplier industries.”

Agricultural projects sometimes result in different perceptions among the public opinion, but the agency has considered such perceptions during the project making, he said. “Once we process and show this model through a case, it can expand to the entire country. We have focused on an interesting and reproducible model.”

Activities of the agency:

Korkmaz said there has been increasing activity regarding the agency’s studies for the last two months. Even the companies that delayed their projects during the crisis period have started visiting the agency, he said, adding that the agency has managed to spread seeds to many new locations last year despite the crisis.

Besides Brazil and Chile, the agency has made new leaps also in areas such as Gulf region and China, and is considering moves in South Korea. Having diversified investment areas, the agency aims to reach a foreign investment figure of $9 billion-$10 billion by the end of 2009.

Attracting foreign investment is a matter of process, according to Korkmaz, who also expressed predictions for increased foreign direct investments.

In 2010, the foreign investment figure may surpass the figures of 2009, he said. “In 2011, the figures are likely to rise even more, and there will be a rapid rise in 2012. Those that have remained robust during the crisis will win. We have an advantage as we have good finance, low household debt and a good demography.”

Turkey has designated a medium term target of $500 billion for exports, Korkmaz said, adding, “Exporting engineering service should also be within the scope.” Informing on a pilot study in this field, he said that an international company has formed an engineering team of 30 people.

Currently, the agency is involved in a study with Eastern Europe countries. “We are currently dealing with 1,500 cases, which means we are in contact with around 1,500 potential investors.” He also said that new investments will be located outside Istanbul as much as possible.
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