Turkey has entered a four-year non-election period, putting itself back on track in foreign investment. Investor groups, which are holding talks in many regions of the country, have started to make their investment decisions.
As part of this investment spree, Iranian businesspeople have focused on the business opportunities Turkey's eastern province of Van offers. An Iranian group engaged in liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation has recently invested TL 13 million in fiber storage systems in Teknokent within Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.
Meanwhile, another Iranian company is counting the days to establish a pharmaceutical production facility with an investment of TL 80 million in Van.
Iranian investors are showing great interest in the city, said Van Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TSO) Chairman Necdet Takva.
"With the modernization of the Kapıköy Customs Gate, trade between the two countries has gained serious momentum," Takva said. "Iranians have shown great interest in our province in the recent period. We believe that investments will continue to increase."
The Kapıköy Customs Gate, which has been modernized with an investment of TL 112 million with the aim of developing tourism and trade with Iran, with which Van has the longest border, has a significant economic potential for the regional economy.
The customs gate, the foundation of whose modernization was laid in the Saray district in Van over two years ago, was opened on March 19.
Pointing to the importance of these investments for Van, Takva said that the investment in fiber storage systems involved high technology. He further stressed that the fiber products to be produced with this investment would be used in LNG transport tanks, thus significantly reducing the transportation costs due to its lightweight.
He also said that they established an Iranian desk in Van TSO due to the Iranians' increasing interest in Turkey.
"Businesspeople come to our chamber and carry out their projects. We give them all kinds of convenience," Takva continued. "We even opened Persian courses to enable our citizens to communicate more easily in the city as part of this increasing investor potential and business life. Our citizens have so far shown great interest in these courses."
The Van TSO head further said passenger train services launched between Tehran and Van last week would contribute considerably to the economic and commercial relations between the two countries. "We attach importance to trade with Iran. We made a great effort to resume passenger train services that came to a halt in 2011," he added, explaining that 77 passengers arrived in Iran in the first train service.
"During Eid al-Fitr, we hosted 13,000 Iranian tourists in our city. The fact that an Iranian spends an average of $600 clearly shows its importance for Van," he noted.
The newly launched passenger rail service will operate once a week from Tehran to Van, and vice versa.
Over the years, Van has become a top destination for Iranian tourists, especially during Iranian national holidays. Now, both the modernized customs gate as well as the relaunched passenger rail service is expected to further contribute to the tourism between Turkey and Iran.