Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım's call on the business world to invest in the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey while offering incentives and governmental assistance for investors in the private sector has caused a stir in the business world.
Businessmen welcomed Yıldırım's call, saying they can invest in the region with the proposed incentives and assistance to be provided by the Turkish state, stressing that new investments are also important for peace and stability in the region.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Zorlu Holding CEO Ahmet Nazif Zorlu said he offered to invest in eastern Turkey some 12 years ago, adding: "I had proposed to move some of our Istanbul-based facilities to the east and invest in the region." Zorlu also expressed his reaction to the prime minister's call as a positive one, saying that the state must give support to the relocation of key facilities to these two key regions of Turkey as well as building new establishments there.
Defining this as a sort of "interchange," Zorlu suggested that the Turkish state must bargain with investors, expressing appreciation for the prime minister's words and underlining the sacrifices that must be made on a private and government level with regard to the risks associated with new investments. "We can easily move our mobilized facilities there; however, labor-intensive businesses must be taken there as well. A subindustry must gradually be created," Zorlu said.
Akfen Holding CEO Hamdi Akın said the incentives in question are important for the region's stability, adding that that the stimulus package alone will not be adequate for investments as peace and stability are also needed.
Pointing to the significance of operations which have been initiated against the PKK in recent months, Akın said the incentives are as crucial as they are unique, due to shifting concerns in the investment world. He further said that businessmen see no inconvenience in investing in the aforementioned regions in Turkey, adding, "These incentives enable us to move forward and invest in the region. However, irrespective of how high the incentives are, it is not possible to invest in a place where peace and stability cannot be ensured in the long term."
Akın suggested that, while incentives may be realized in certain provinces where peace has been restored and the PKK threat eradicated, it is not possible to invest in provinces currently effected by the PKK conflict.
IC Holding CEO İbrahim Çeçen stated that the government's stimulus package with regard to investments in Turkey's eastern and southeastern regions, offers optimal conditions for positive effects to be seen in the region. Çeçen said: "I am sure that these incentives will rapidly mobilize and excite all investors. In fact, the region's existing infrastructural opportunities and wide labor force potential make it possible for all kinds of investments. The region is an untouched opportunity for investment."
Underlining that the proposed stimulus package will contribute to the region's economic development and the resolution of peace and security concerns in the region, Çeçen said that he remains hopeful that the incentives will yield positive results. "It is a sound and timely decision," he said.
Stressing the positive nature of Yıldırım's call, Kadooğlu Holding CEO Tarkan Kadooğlu said that southeastern Turkey has long been Turkey's most underdeveloped region, adding that unemployment in the region is at its highest level and production rates fall well below Turkey's national average.
Touching on the fact that a significant number of people recently left the region due to conflict, Kadooğlu said that the business world in the region is going through hard times. He stressed that state incentives would function as a "lifesaver" during a time of uncertainty, underlining that the problems faced in that region affect Turkey as a whole.
He also suggested that regional developments could lead to a decline in the number of violent, PKK-related incidents, eliminating interregional conflict and stabilizing employment and industrialization rates in the region.
Kadooğlu said that the suggested purchase guarantees, fixed investment costs and coverage for factory construction expenditures are very attractive incentives. "When the adverse conflicts in the region dissipate and such opportunities are mobilized, the region can recover considerably and see development within five years," he said.