Turkey, Arab countries seek stronger economic ties

ISTANBUL - About 700 businessman from Turkey and Arab countries gathered here on Thursday for a two-day forum focusing on ways to increase economic cooperation.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 8 Jun 2006, 5:49 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:23 PM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Lebonese counterpart Fuad Siniora participated in the opening-session of the gathering, which also has Arab League chief Amr Mussa and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh among the guests.

The forum will feature several round-table discussions on a wide variety of subjects, including how Turkey’s eventual membership of the European Union would affect the trade volume between Arab countries and Europe.

“The more trade there is, the more prosperous and peaceful the world will be,” Erdogan said in his inaugural speech.

Mainly Muslim Turkey is very keen on luring Arab investment, especially from the Gulf countries, amid a spectacular economic recovery from two major financial crises in 1999 and 2001.

Last year, Dubai International Properties, a leading property developer based in the United Arab Emirates, agreed to invest five billion dollars (3.9 billion dollars) in projects in Istanbul, a sprawling metropolis of 12 million people.

Rona Yircali, the head of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), an influential non-governmental economic organization, told the forum that the trade volume between Turkey and Arab countries had reached 17 billion dollars (13.3 billion euros) in 2005.

“Energy projects worth 130 billion dollars (102 billion euros) which are planned to be undertaken in Turkey in the next 10 years create new opportunities for the Arab World,” he noted.

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