As part of its global efforts to showcase Turkey’s business climate and to reinforce global investor perceptions, ISPAT built upon its Germany-specific initiative launched in 2016 by recently hosting various members of the German media in Turkey. ISPAT wanted the delegation to see first-hand the dynamism of the Turkish economy in different parts of the country, particularly in Turkey’s Izmir and Antalya provinces following the previous two events that had been held in Istanbul and Sakarya-Gazientep.
Among the German delegation were media representatives from Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Der Freitag, Handelsblatt, Süddeutsche Zeitung, German Press Agency-DPA, Tagesspiegel, Allgemeiner Deutscher Rundfunk-ARD, WirtschaftsWoche, ZDF, ARD-Hörfunk, and TAZ-Die Tageszeitung. High-ranking Turkish government officials, German-capital companies, and industry associations in Turkey briefed the delegation on the country’s current economic outlook, reform process, and investment environment.
The series of meetings in Izmir took place with the Izmir Development Agency, German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex and German textile company Digel in the Aegean Free Zone, German trailer maker Krone, and with Prof. Dr. Emre Alkin – a Turkish academic and author in economics. Izmir itself accounts for USD 2 billion in bilateral foreign trade volume, and the province boasts around 2,500 foreign capital companies, of which nearly a quarter are German.
The delegation was briefed about the business climate in Turkey by foreign companies doing business in Turkey. Hot topics included the advantages of running a production facility in Free Zones and Organized Industrial Zones in Turkey, the Turkish labor force, cost competitiveness, and the political and macroeconomic stability.
During dialogues with the German media, company executives stated that they were pleased to operate in İzmir and that the logistical advantages, qualified labor, and cost advantages that İzmir offers strengthen their presence in the international market. With an eye to further growth in the future, they pointed out that 95 percent of their employees are Turkish and that the young and dynamic population in the city is indicative of huge potential.
The group then headed to Antalya, where they came together with the Western Mediterranean Development Agency (BAKA), German engineering company Bihl+Wiedemann, German life sciences company Novamed, premium yacht builder Alia, and lastly Sun Express – a JV between Germany’s Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. The delegation also attended separate scheduled meetings with Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Culture and Tourism Numan Kurtulmuş, Mayor of Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Menderes Türel, and Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee İlker Aycı.
The rebound in the tourism industry was also emphasized during the delegation’s visit to Antalya, the heart of Turkey’s tourism industry. The number of companies with foreign capital in Antalya is 3,100, with 14.5 percent of them being German companies. Minister Kurtulmuş stated that after two years of political setbacks, Turkey is now expecting a return to the record high number of tourists seen only a few years ago. In fact, the increase in the number of reservations for the coming spring and summer is indicative of Turkey’s return to prominence as a prime tourism destination. The bookings herald an improvement in relations between Turkey and the two major tourism exporters of Germany and Russia. According to Kurtulmuş, the tourism targets in Turkey’s Vision 2023, which includes attracting 50 million tourists with a total revenue of USD 50 billion, are well on the way to being achieved provided that the trend continues. Additionally, the swift recovery in Turkish businesses and the economy after the July 15, 2016 events in particular provided one of the highlights in the visits.