President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged Italian construction companies to take part in Turkey's Kanal Istanbul project.
He was speaking at a meeting with Italy's top executives in Rome Tuesday at an event organized by the Turkish Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT), attended by high-level executives from leading Italian companies, including Pirelli, Elettronica, Cementir, Ferrero, Astaldi, Salini and Leonardo.
Erdoğan said that nearly 1,400 Italian companies currently do businesses in Turkey and they have jointly invested more than $3.1 billion in the country.
The president extended his thanks to Italian investors who have been operating in various sectors for years, for their trust in Turkey.
"I believe that foreign capital has no nationality, country or belief. The intellectual property rights and reforms we have implemented over the past 15 years have transformed Turkey into a center of attraction for foreign capital," he said, and inviting more Italian companies to invest in Turkey. He instructed ISPAT Chairman Arda Ermut to follow up on their projects.
Erdoğan said that the government has developed a system of incentives based on the booming economy and the expectations of investors. He added that the most attractive incentive package could be ensured for strategically important investments even in the most developed regions.
Meanwhile, Italian investors said they were pleased to be in Turkey and added that they are looking to increase investments and get involved in some large projects in the future. Executives from top Italian construction companies Astaldi and Salini said they are proud to have taken part in the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and the Mount Bolu Tunnel projects.
Erdoğan urged Italian construction companies to form a consortium and join the Kanal Istanbul project.
Discussing cooperation in the defense industry, Erdoğan said: "I believe Eurosam, the Italian and French consortium established to carry out studies on the development and production of Turkey's long-range air and missile defense systems are going to be very important. I also believe that this step, which connects Turkey and Italy, will lead to cooperation in other areas as well."