Turkey aims to raise the international competitive capacity of the Mediterranean Region, Development Minister Lütfi Elvan said yesterday.
Addressing the Mediterranean Economic Forum in the southern Mersin province, Elvan said the Mediterranean Basin comprises of 21 countries with over than 500 million people, $8 trillion in national income and $3.7 trillion in trade volume.
He added the basin's share in the world's trade volume was 19 percent.
Four basic axes - transportation substructure, value-added production, entrepreneurship and digital transition - to raise the basin's competitiveness have been specified, he said.
"If we want to be a global power, we need to realize digital transition in all of the production processes," he said.
Turkey has an opportunity to access the market that includes 1.6 billion population and $36 trillion, he said.
He said the country was strengthening its connections, especially with the east, north and west via its new projects such as the Mediterranean Coast Road that would provide a link between Mersin and Turkey's resort city Antalya and the Çukurova Regional Airport, which is expected to have a 30 million annual passenger capacity.
In Mersin, a port that with 13 million container capacity will be built alongside Turkey's other port projects in the Aegean and the Black Sea, he stated.
The Mediterranean Basin covers over 20 countries which have a coast in the Mediterranean Sea; Turkey, Spain, France, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tunisia are part of it.
"Of course, the most important and biggest support to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC] comes from Turkey," TRNC Minister of Economy and Energy Özdil Nami said.
Nami said leading sectors in the TRNC were tourism, education, construction and agriculture.
The TRNC has an infrastructure to receive 1.5 million tourists a year and there are currently 18 universities running in the education sector, he said.
"While having a population of 300,000 people, the number of citizens from third-world countries who are receiving education in the TRNC now exceeds 100,000."
Turkish ministers, bureaucrats, economists, local directors, industrialists and exporters are among participants of the Mediterranean Economic Forum, which ends today.