A new era for Egyptian-Turkish relations

Liliana Mihaila
7 Min Read
Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil (R) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) attend a conference for Turkish and Egyptian businessmen during a signing of several agreements in Cairo on 18 November. (Mohamed Omar)

The Egyptian Turkish Economic Forum convened on Monday in the presence PM Hisham Qandil, his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ministers, politicians, and a large group of businessmen representing over 300 Turkish enterprises in Egypt.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil (R) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) attend a conference for Turkish and Egyptian businessmen during a signing of several agreements in Cairo on 18 November. (Mohamed Omar)

Turkey has signed 27 agreements of mutual cooperation with Egypt with the goal of launching a new era for bilateral relations and to build for a better future.

“We had signed the Turkish loan to Egypt worth $1 billion; Egypt has received $500 million, and the other $500 million will be delivered by the beginning of the new year,” Erdogan declared in his speech during the forum.

He added, the forum is not just a meeting point, rather today we are witnessing a huge aggregation of attendees to look at what has been achieved between both countries, and other aspirations for the coming era.

Erdogan added that ten years ago, Turkey received a loan from the IMF worth around $23 billion, but now they are indebted by only $1.7 billion.

Qandil remarked that mutual benefit relations are the only way to reach goals between countries; “Turkey has provided Egypt with a soft loan worth $1 billion, along with a new credit facility line of the same amount.”

“Turkish investments in Egypt are worth EGP 267 billion, with only EGP 100 billion for the public sector. By the end of this year the volume of Egyptian-Turkish trade will exceed $5 billion and we are looking forward to Turkey becoming a gateway for relations in both Asia and Africa” Qandil continued.

Minister of Investment, Osama Saleh, said the government’s task is to attract more foreign investments to support the national economy as well as improving business performance, supporting investors and removing all obstacles to create an calm investment climate and a fertile soil for development.

“The government has amended the investment law, allowing settlement with investors in a way that doesn’t affect the existing contracts” said Saleh.

He added that GDP growth reached 2.2 per cent during the previous fiscal year, and is expected to achieve a 3.8 to 4 per cent rise this year.

Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Tarek Wafik, announced the development project of the Suez Canal, which would transform the Suez Canal from just a shipping channel to a hub for logistics and industrial and maritime services.

“This project will turn the Suez Canal into Egypt’s economic capital, surging its returns to $100 billion annually,” said Wafik.

Sinai has a huge stock of coal, around 150 million tons, in addition to the white sand which Sinai is known for.  It contains great reserves of silica, which is used in the production of silicon computer chips, said Chairman of Sinai Development Authority Shawki Rashwan.

“$5 billion of trade between the two countries is really a very small number, and we are looking forward to doubling that number, however we could never reach that goal without joint cooperation between the two countries” said the deputy director general of the Turkish General Directorate of Exports.

“Turkey is seeking mutual businesses, along with benefiting from available investments and cooperation in all fields, and businessmen are the engine to execute projects,” said the Chairman of the Turkey Egypt Business Council Zuhal Mansfield.

“We are hope to increase the volume of Turkish investments in Egypt, especially after the Turkish president AbduAllah Gul has laid the foundation for the industrial zone of the 6th October district in 2008, which contains around 400 factories with 100 Turkish businessmen investing over there” said the Chairman of Egyptian Business Development Association (EBDA) Hassan Malek.

Turkey has come to Egypt after knowing it has a good chance for profit, especially after the COMESA and the QUEZ agreements, which “reinvigorated the Turkish trade relations” commented Chairman of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association Hussein Sabbour.

Sabbour called on the government to provide means of attraction to enhance investments in Egypt from the Egyptians themselves, especially as several Egyptian investors are looking to other countries like China and Turkey because of their cheap production and facilities.

“There were 22 problems pertaining to Turkish investments in Egypt and with the help of President Morsy, all of them have been resolved, that is a fact. Today we’re hoping for new investments. As you can see we’ve proposed several developmental projects, in Sinai, East of the Suez Canal as well as east Port Said.” Chairman of the Egypt Turkey Business Council Adel El Lamei, told Daily News Egypt.

“Turks are very close to us [Egyptians], socially, politically and religiously. And the fact that only two out of 300 companies have exited the Egyptian market over the past two years is indicative of level of comfort Turkish investors feel in Egypt,” added El Lamei.

“Nowadays, our concern is the political situation. If it would improve, which I believe it will, customers will be more encouraged to come here and conduct business,” Director of Tureks for Textiles Ali Topuz, told Daily News Egypt, commenting on the obstacles that might hinder the flow of further Turkish investments to Egypt.

Share This Article
Leave a comment