The Turkish Government is working on a new project these days. According to the Turkish President, the European side of Istanbul may soon find itself transformed into an island. As Hürriyet Daily reports, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reaffirmed his intention to dig a deep canal through the city linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. “We are going to launch the Canal Istanbul very soon,” said the Turkish leader, considering that “it is not possible to reduce traffic on the Bosphorus.”
As Mr. Erdoğan stated; “We, therefore, need an alternative seaway project. All the studies have been done, and we will have no problem financing or building this canal,” the Turkish leader concluded, without convincing the opposition press, which questions the argument that the project will relieve traffic on the Bosphorus. An academic specializing in the issue explained in an interview with the online media outlet Gazete Duvar: “We are living in a period when traffic on the Bosphorus is falling, and the number of accidents is also falling. We are not in a crisis, but on the contrary, in a reduction of risks […] This project does not meet a logistical or urbanistic need, it is only a way to open a huge market to the real estate sector in a sector of Istanbul that is still preserved from construction”.
The ambition is to create a canal about 40 kilometers long, 150 meters wide and 25 meters deep, at an estimated cost of more than 11 billion euros. On either side of this canal, the Turkish president imagines building a “new city.”
The main argument is that this artificial strait would ease traffic on the Bosphorus, one of the busiest waterways in the world, with its risks of collision and accidents. The government also talks about creating 10,000 direct jobs, contributing to the growth of the Turkish economy, and strengthening Istanbul’s position as a world center for maritime trade. The Istanbul Canal is presented as a prestigious project, “one of the biggest projects of the century, incomparable to the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal,” Tayyip Erdogan even said.
The Turkish authorities have begun construction of a new metro line for New Istanbul Airport which is between Istanbul’s financial district, Gayrettepe, and theNew Airport, as the Daily Sabah daily reported on Sunday.
“We did not neglect the transport problem when we built the New Istanbul Airport. In addition to bus transport from the city, we have started construction of a metro line connected to all public transport (in Istanbul),” said the President Mr. Erdoğan at the opening ceremony of the construction.
Mr. Turhan, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, stated that “the construction of Istanbul Airport simultaneously with the construction of the airport’s infrastructure during the construction of the check-in area has started. Stating that they have established the metro infrastructure between Gayrettepe and Istanbul Airport as a ministry, Turhan said: “Our goal is to eliminate the shortage of transport means to Istanbul Airport by offering this line service in 2020. We are building the infrastructure of the railway system between the new airport and Halkalı. We also completed the delivery of the square in March. In 2022, they will be in operation,” said the minister.
Istanbul Airport is located on the city’s Black Sea coast. Passengers can currently take a one-and-a-half-hour bus to the airport or pay about 100-150 lira ($17-25) to taxis in the central districts.
52.6 million passengers, including 12.7 million domestic passengers, used Istanbul Airport in 2019, stated in Daily Sabah.
According to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez, it is predicted that more than 1 million electric cars in Turkey will be used in 2030.
Along with the local electric car production in Turkey, Donmez says they foresee that by 2030, “1 million electric vehicles will be on the roads. The government will evaluate the effect of the electric cars’ charging points on the distribution network, and we hope to put them into practice.” he stated.
Besides the electric cars, the Minister Mr. Donmez noted that “We’ve received 1,300 applications for roof-top installations for roof-top power plants, reaching 800 megawatts from almost 900 industrial plants and 10 megawatts from residences.” He continued.
In his statement, the Minister added: “In the last five months of 2019 alone, 696 industrial or commercial establishments have applied to electricity distribution companies with a total installed capacity of 432 megawatts. In homes, 1.187 applications have come in, there is a 10-kilowatt limit in houses, and we have received one application of approximately 11 megawatts. In total, we received 443 megawatts of applications for roof-top applications. In addition, based on the previous system, the number of applicants to install a solar energy system on their roofs is 5,000,402. This corresponds to 1.104 megawatts. However, we have reached 6,206,206 megawatts in all unlicensed GHG applications.”
To provide uninterrupted, high-quality electricity, the government will have invested approximately 41 billion Turkish liras in the current transmission and distribution lines during the implementation period 2016-2020. Additionally, as a result of the reforms carried out in the framework of the strategy to become an energy trading center, an investment of more than $100 billion has been made in the energy sector. Studies on the preparation of plans and programs for the implementation period covering the years 2021-2025 for the power sector are also underway.
As the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources stated there will be more than one million electric cars in Turkey by 2030 and more people will be benefiting from solar power in their houses and workplaces.
Turkish exporters were supported with 3.2 billion TL ($543.2 million) in 2019, which is a record in the history of the Republic, as the Minister of Trade stated.
“We will offer a support budget of 3.8 billion TL to our exporters for the export of goods and services in 2020,” Ruhşan Pekcan told the Anadolu agency.
Pekcan said her ministry is expanding its financial support every year to create new exporters so that exporters can follow their global competitors and assist exporters in creating their brands.
The support is provided in three phases, export preparation, global market update, and the creation of brands and designs, she explained, adding that most of the support packages are also available for service exporters.
The year 2019 has been a “golden year” in terms of support for exporters, Pekcan noted.
“In terms of support payments, we broke the record in the history of the Republic and obtained the highest public support to date for exports, with a total of 3.2 billion lire, of which 2.4 billion lire was for good exports,” she stated.
“In 2020, we have a total support budget of 3,800 million lire for our exports of goods and services, of which 3,100 million lire are for the export of goods.” Our objective is to support our exporters using the entire budget. ”
Applications for support began January 1, she noted.
Last year, 685 million TL were provided under the Turquality program, which supports companies in their branding efforts to become a global player in international markets with their brands, to build a positive image of Turkish goods and services by creating strong brands.
“Currently, 312 companies with 325 brands, 199 of them in the Turquality Program and 126 in the Marka Program, are receiving support,” said Pekcan.
The minister noted that Turkey especially encourages design companies and design competitions, believing in the power of design, which is a crucial element for value-added exports.
“Fifteen design companies, four design offices, and 19 design competitions are supported,” Pekcan said.
“Payments in design support have exceeded 150 million TL in 2019. The most significant indicator that our ministry’s efforts are yielding results is that while the unit price of Turkish exports in 2018 was $1.33, the unit price of exports of the companies that benefited from design support was $13.1”.
Around 13.550 companies were supported with 624.1 million TL ($106 million) in international fairs in 2019, while 170 million TL ($28.8 million) of support was used by Turkish exporters for export company announcements, brand, office, store and warehouse expenses, she continued. In 2019, the ministry also spent 80 million lire ($13.5 million) on market research, membership in e-commerce websites, purchasing committees, and acquisition financing.
After achieving high investment volumes in challenging market conditions last year, the EBRD plans to increase its investment in Turkey in 2020 as the economy prepares to recover.
2019 has been a difficult and challenging year for the Turkish economy. It experienced a weakening of overall asset quality in the banking sector and a reduction in debt levels among creditors. The risk of sanctions and market instability undermined investor confidence, leading to unsatisfactory levels of public and private investment.
Within this context, the EBRD successfully provided € 1 billion of debt and equity financing for 35 projects in Turkey.
Arvid Tuerkner, EBRD Managing Director for Turkey, said: “In a challenging business environment, our business volume in Turkey in 2019 remained unchanged from the previous year. Last year we provided EUR 1 billion of financing in various sectors and were able to support our clients to ensure business continuity and growth opportunities. The vast majority of our investments were made in the private sector, and half of these investments were dedicated to Turkey’s sustainable development program, the country’s blueprint for implementing global development goals.
Mr. Tuerkner noted that the EBRD anticipates the Turkish economy to recover in 2020: “As investors seek financing, we will aim to support even more investment projects that stimulate the economy, create jobs and improve people’s lives.
In 2020, the Bank will also aim to enlarge its Women in Business program and focus on attracting new investors under this initiative. It will maintain its involvement with the Turkish government to deploy energy efficiency technologies in schools and the liberalization of the railway sector. The EBRD will keep its focus on renewable energy projects and make an investment in Turkey in this field as well.
The Bank will also investigate opportunities for Islamic financial products and expects an increase in issues from Turkish companies. Its involvement will be in line with the Bank’s recently approved country strategy, which focuses on building economic sustainability, encouraging a knowledge-based economy, enhancing inclusiveness, and promoting the shift to a green economy.
A large part of this financing is expected to be in Turkish liras, as in 2019. About one-third of the Bank’s financing in 2019 was tied to the local currency and the development of local capital markets to support businesses in reducing foreign exchange risks.
One such loan in Turkish Lira, equivalent to US$100 million, to energy group Enerjisa Enerji, significantly contributed to the improvement of the capital market in Turkey through its link to TLREF, a new overnight risk-free benchmark rate that the EBRD had helped develop.
The EBRD celebrated its 10th year of operation in Turkey in 2019. Twelve billion has been invested in various sectors of the Turkish economy since 2009, with almost all of it in the private sector. The EBRD’s €6.7 billion portfolio in Turkey is the largest of the 38 countries in which the Bank invests. The EBRD is a major investor in Turkey.
In the energy sector, the Bank also supported the expansion of a geothermal power plant and invested in a stake in Ictas Holding’s renewable energy activities in 2019.
The EBRD’s equity-related transactions in Turkey focused on the technology sector, with investments in Modanisa, the online shop for Muslim women’s clothing, and the Obilet bus ticketing application, as well as others.
The Bank also provided incentives to Turkish exporters such as white goods manufacturer Arcelik and dried fruit and nut producer Isik Organic and May Seed, exporting sunflower seeds, maize, cotton, and beans.
In response to the request to support the improvement of port facilities, the Bank has financed four Turkish ports: an innovative logistics center to be developed by Arkas Holding in Kocaeli, Asyaport and the port of Tekirdag through loans – all three in the Marmara region – and the international port of Mersin in the south of the country by taking part in a Eurobond issue.
While bank loans continued to be tight, the EBRD also investigated new ways to increase financing for Turkish companies and supported the leasing company QNB Finansleasing and the factoring company TAM Factoring, as well as the extension of a risk-sharing agreement with Turkiye Sinai Kalkinma Bankasi (the Industrial Development Bank). Turkey or TSKB).
Besides, the Bank’s small business team launched 113 local and nine international consultancy projects with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 20 provinces, helping them to improve their performance and growth.
The EBRD achieved a record level of investment impact in all its regions in 2019, honoring its promise to enhance both the quality and quantity of its investments in 38 economies on three continents.
The Bank funded an unprecedented 452 individual projects, up from 395 a year earlier. Funding reached more than EUR 10 billion for the first time in the Bank’s history, rising from EUR 9.5 billion to EUR 10.1 billion.
EBRD funding for the green economy reached a record €4.6 billion or 46% of total business volume in 2019, underlining the EBRD’s strong support for the global climate agenda. They aim to continue their investment in Turkey in the future as well.