The Middle East has been an important export destination for Turkey and Turkey attaches great importance to the bilateral and regional initiatives, for facilitating trade and for creating a fair and predictable trading environment in the Middle East. For this reason, in recent years, our Ministry has created new channels to establish direct contacts between Turkish producers and raw material and to transfer technology to the region by increasing direct Turkish investments in the region.
As a result of our new strategies, Turkey’s volume of bilateral trade with Middle East countries gained considerable momentum and reached 49 billion dollars by the end of 2011 reflecting a fourfold increase compared to the year 2003. (This figure was recorded as 9,5 billion dollars in 2003).
Turkey’s exports to the region has increased from 5,3 billion dollars in 2003 to 24,9 billion dollars in 2011. Meanwhile Turkey’s general exports has increased from a level of 39,3 billion dollars in 2003 to 134,9 billion dollars in 2011. In the same way, Turkey’s imports form the region have increased from 4,2 billion dollars in 2003 to 24,1 billion dollars in 2011, whereas Turkey’s general imports have increased from a 55,6 billion dollars in 2003 to 240,8 billion dollars in 2011. These figures show that Turkey’s foreign trade with the region have been increasing slightly faster than the pace of the increase in Turkey’s general exports and imports.
If we analyze Turkey’s main export items to the region, we can see that iron & steel, electric machinery & equipment, vehicles, machinery & mechanical appliances, mineral fuels & oils, pearls, stones and precious metals are among important items. Turkey’s import from the region mostly depends on raw materials and approximately 75 percent of Turkey’s imports from the region are concentrated on mineral fuels & oils. Important items other than fuels & minerals are plastics & articles thereof, copper & articles thereof, organic chemicals, aluminum & articles thereof.
During this period (2003-2011) the total value of projects undertaken by Turkish contractors in Middle East countries exceeded 30 billion dollars. When we take into consideration the figures in this sector before 2002 that was only 6 billion dollars, the importance of Turkey’s achievements will be more visible. Prestigious projects such as construction of new airports, undergrounds, refineries and other facilities for petrochemical industries are also among the projects undertaken by Turkish contractors in these countries.
On the other hand, especially during the last two years, foreign direct investments to Turkey from Middle East countries, particularly from the Gulf Region, has displayed a considerable increase that we consider as one of the most important development in our relations.