Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow to Turkey reached USD 12.1 billion in the first 11 months of 2011, and the country is looking into at least tripling that amount in the near future, said the head of the official investment agency.

Speaking at the Gaziantep Chamber of Industry’s (GSO) assembly meeting, the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) President Ilker Ayci said the number of companies with international capital in Turkey has been consistently increasing in the last decade and topped 30,000 in 2011. “Gaziantep hosts 300 such companies and is on its way to becoming a center of trade and industry for the whole Middle East region,” referring to the province’s proximity to Turkey’s southeastern neighbors. 

Outlining the Agency’s goals of bringing in investments of high-tech and added-value, ISPAT President said that Turkey is looking for FDI projects that would provide the country with a qualitative edge. “Technology transfer, export potential and employment creation are the three main points we seek in our efforts to draw foreign companies to Turkey. Exports are particularly important, as Turkey plans to export USD 500 billion worth of goods by 2023, while being among the top 10 economies,” he noted. 

“Turkey has attracted 70 percent more FDI in the first 11 months of 2011 over the same period of the preceding year, reaching USD 12.1 billion. This is clearly not enough. We intend to reach 2007 levels first,”Ayci said of the USD 22.5 billion of FDI Turkey attracted before the global economic crisis, “and then move on to the USD 30-40 billion band.” 

ISPAT announced two major investment projects last December, one being the establishment of a JV between Aksa Akrilik and Dow Chemical to produce carbon fiber in Turkey; and the other, Indian textile producer Aditya Birla’s viscose staple fiber (VSF) plant in Adana. The total worth of the two projects amounts to some USD 1.5 billion.

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