German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, will visit Turkey Oct. 25-26 with a delegation of 80, consisting of 35 CEOs of leading German firms like EON, Bilfinger and Siemens, undersecretaries, experts and journalists, in order to deepen bilateral ties on the basis of stronger economic cooperation. In an interview with Turkish daily Hürriyet, Altmaier said the German delegation will seek billion-dollar investment projects, highlighting the importance of a strong Turkish economy for Germany.
Altmaier has put in great effort into improving Turkish-German ties, which had been strained for two years until President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Berlin in late September. Referring to the recent turbulence in the Turkish economy and the strained ties, Altmaier said the visit will assuage the concerns of German investors and boost the positive perception of the Turkish economy.
"During this two-day visit, I want to convey the message concerning the necessity to expand economic ties. Germany wants to sustain a stable and vibrant economic relationship with Turkey. Germany believes that there is great potential for the economic growth of both countries," Altmaier said.
Referring to the 7,500 German companies operating in Turkey and the growing Turkish investments in Germany, the minister stressed that the German businesspeople in his delegation aspire to develop new projects and ensure wider cooperation. "We want to support these businesspeople in their new projects. This will be a lot easier with good political relations. But the important thing is to institute the necessary infrastructure to broaden the partnership. To do this, we need the inclusion of industry and trade chambers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the cooperation of large companies. Therefore, we are launching the first meeting of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO)."
Altmaier also highlighted the strong Turkish economy, which has a higher gross domestic product (GDP) than many European countries and recorded immense growth last year. The first message, he said, Germany gave after the recent turbulence was its confidence in the stability of the Turkish economy. The second message is the will to accomplish concrete projects. The minister cited the Hermes export credit program which could be provided for German companies that want to invest in Turkey.
"We want to deepen our cooperation in the energy industry. We want to cooperate in artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0 projects," Altmaier said.
A number of projects with the participation of German companies are currently underway across the country. For example, German-Spanish company Siemens Gamesa has installed wind turbines with over 700 megawatts (MW) of capacity in Turkey since entering the country's market for the first time in 2010.
A Turkish-German consortium comprising of Kalyon, Türkerler and Siemens Gamesa won Turkey's first 1-gigawatt wind tender in August last year. The winning bid broke a world record with the lowest cost of electricity per hour accepted from wind power generation. The offered price was $3.48 per kilowatt-hour.
Siemens Gamesa is now preparing to build a 70 million euro wind power plant in Izmir's Aliağa district. As part of Turkey's aim to increase its renewables capacity, the country is planning more renewable energy tenders this year and in the following years.
By the end of the year, the country will offer four 250 MW Renewable Energy Resources Zones (YEKA) wind energy tenders for plants to be located in Balıkesir, Çanakkale, Aydın and Muğla with an investment volume of around $1 billion.
The country will also offer, for the first time, a 1,200 MW capacity offshore YEKA tender. The plants will be located in the provinces of Kırklareli, Tekirdağ and Edirne in the Thrace region of Turkey. The total investment volume is expected to exceed $3 billion.
When asked about the 35 billion euro high-speed train project in Turkey, Altmaier noted that the project will be discussed during the visit and Siemens may undertake the project. He also stressed that the project is very important in the sense that it will improve Turkey's infrastructure and contribute to the development of economic stability.
Recently, German media outlets claimed that Turkey and Germany are in talks for a 35 billion euro railway modernization project led by a Siemens consortium. Turkey has undertaken many railway projects over recent years to upgrade and extend its railway network.
It has carried out a series of high-speed railway projects, starting with the opening of the Ankara-Eskisehir line in 2009. In 2011, over 200 kilometers of the Ankara-Konya line was put into service, followed by the Eskisehir-Istanbul line in 2014.
The country is still working on the Ankara-Izmir high-speed railway line with a length of 625 kilometers, as well as the 400-kilometer Ankara-Sivas line.
In April, Turkish State Railways (TCDD) signed a 340 million euro agreement for 10 Velaro high-speed trains with Siemens. The Turkish Velaro fleet will expand to 17 trains with this new contract.
President Erdoğan to
meet German CEOs tomorrow
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet with the top executives of more than 80 German companies at the investment summit in Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara.
Germany Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, Investment Office (ISPAT) President Arda Ermut, Finance Office head Göksel Aşan, chief economic advisers to the president as well as top executives of internationally accomplished German companies such as Siemens, Mercedes, BMW, Bosch, Krone, Thyssen Krupp and Eon will attend the Beştepe meeting on Thursday, Oct. 25. Meanwhile, energy and investment forums to be held in this scope will bring together Turkish and German businesspeople.
During the Beştepe meeting, Erdoğan will invite German companies to invest in Turkey. The meeting will also focus on opportunities for cooperation between Turkey and Germany in third countries. In this context, the steps that can be taken in the coming period, especially in the automotive, energy, retail, telecommunication and transportation sectors, will be discussed. President Erdoğan will instruct the Investment Office to facilitate new investments and collaborations in this regard.