Turkey in pursuit of $24B foreign investment

– Turkey to announce new foreign investments this month in meeting hosted by PM, head of investment agency says

– More than 150 new investment projects, with a total value of $24 billion, are a testament to investors’ commitment in Turkey in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, the president of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT) said Thursday.

Arda Ermut spoke to Anadolu Agency about 158 recent foreign investment decisions in Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Russia on Aug. 9.

He said the agency, which comes under the prime minister’s office, had talked to foreign investors who have new ongoing projects in Turkey after the coup attempt.

“We asked if they would continue their investments in our country or not,” he said. “The response we got from all the investors was that they will continue. We are closely following 158 projects now with a value of $24 billion. But, regardless of their outcome, which is not determined yet, they all will proceed.”

Ermut said he was surprised by the positive feedback from international investors following the coup plot.

“One of our investors from the Gulf region called his Turkish representative to get information on proceedings [after the coup],” he said. “After he learned what really happened in Turkey, he gave instructions to increase the Russia

investment volume in Turkey.”

Global companies explained their investment plans for Turkey when they meet Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara last week.

“Most of the investors at that meeting shared their new plans with President Erdogan,”Ermut said. “I hope these new plans will be announced as new investments in the near future. Beforehand, we plan to announce some new investments in different sectors this month in a meeting hosted by our Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Istanbul.”

Ermut said the normalization of relations with Russia, which this week saw Erdogan visit President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, would help improve investment levels.

Investment from Russia fell following the downing of a Russian fighter over the Turkey-Syria border last November.”

– Boost to Russian investment

“Normally, Turkey has attracted around $700 million to $900 million worth of foreign direct investment per year from Russia over the last five years,” Ermut said. “However, the jet crisis impacted investments from this country.

“Now, with the normalization process, the foreign direct investment volume is not only expected to return to old levels but to be boosted to over $1 billion per year.”

He predicted large-scale Russian-linked projects in Turkey’s energy and property sectors, as well as company mergers and acquisitions.

“Normalizing relations with Russia will also contribute to Turkey’s foreign investment attraction because our relations with one more country got better and investors see this as an advantage,” he said.

“Most investors come to Turkey because they see our country as a production and management center from where they are able to manage their investments in neighboring countries.”

Among the major Russian-Turkish projects back on track following Turkey’s rapprochement with Moscow are the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin, southern Turkey.

Erdogan said during his visit Tuesday that the plant would be granted “strategic investment status” and announced a joint investment fund between Turkey and Russia.

In a 2010 agreement, Russia said it would help construct and operate the plant, which is expected to produce around 35 billion kilowatt-hours per year and cost around $25 billion.

Ermut said the strategic investment status was critical to encourage Russian participation through tax incentives and planning support. He added that Turkey would offer these incentives to other strategic foreign investors.

“The government plans to evaluate each project individually and support it with many other enticements,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Referring to the joint investment fund, he added: “This fund excites me and many others as well. Details of the plan will be determined soon and it will create a difference in terms of investments.