Turkey to enjoy increased Gulf investments

MUSTAFA ÜNAL
PARIS


Economy Minister Ali Bacan
Turkey is expected to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Gulf countries in 2011 than was invested from that area last year, Economy Minister Ali Babacan has told Today’s Zaman.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman following a G-20 meeting in Paris, Babacan said the government is happy to see more entrepreneurs from the Gulf countries willing to step into new investments in Turkish markets compared to the past. “People are interested in investing in media, real estate and tourism. It is encouraging to see the Gulf investors’ interest in Turkish markets turning further into real projects,” he noted.
Making mention of his talks during the G-20 meeting, Babacan said they realized the US government is preparing to take some steps to curb the budget deficit, similar to measures Turkey implemented in 2009. Babacan said US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had said they expect to take some precautions to reduce the government’s $1 trillion-plus deficits. Bernanke has earlier said failing to forge a plan in this regard could eventually hurt the US economy. “We already took these steps in 2009, and now the US thinks they are necessary, too,” Babacan said.

Regarding an expected reshuffling of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) managing board, the minister said the fund will go through a transformation and that Turkey’s role in this is important. “Two developing countries are expected to replace two EU members on the fund’s managing board. Turkey is one of the strongest candidates for this mission,” the minister said. The change on the IMF board is expected to be finalized before October 2012.

Evaluating the results of the G-20 meeting in Paris, the minister said the main focus is on being prepared against risks that still linger in global markets. “The global economy is picking up, but there are still risks in the markets. G-20 countries are expected to work to make sure their current account deficit [CAD] does not further increase,” Babacan said, adding that G-20 members will be required to file a detailed report discussing the reasons for the possible increase in their CAD and that this will be shared with the global markets.

Asked whether the mentioned risks may involve the collapse of some large banks, the minister says this is likely. Following the lessons learned from the 2009 global financial crisis, countries are more careful; each country is monitoring its banking industry closely. Lists are being prepared to define the weakest links in the finance sector in a bid to better react to any possible fluctuation than in the past.


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