Investing across the Aegean

The stereotypical «70 million mouths» have made the Turkish market attractive to every entrepreneur. The massive population and the relatively virgin market are Turkey’s two main assets, which, combined with its European prospects, have recently made the country more popular. Greece, according to the Exports Promotion Organization, lies 22nd on the list of the most important countries investing in Turkey. Official data show that there are 76 companies which have invested $33 million, or 0.4 percent, of overall invested capital. Greeks have chosen the following domains: information technology, industrial products, plastics, food, packaging, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, construction, agricultural applications, aquaculture, trade, tourism, fertilizers, banks, tobacco, mining, aluminium, consultancy services and clinics. The continuation of Turkey’s convergence course with the European Union and the improvement of the economic and political environment are paving the way toward attracting further Greek investment in the neighboring country. The institutional framework between the two states has now been completed and there is a series of agreements for the protection of investments and the development of cooperation in a multitude of domains, such as culture, technology, agriculture and the like. Two years ago, an agreement for exemption from double taxation was signed, lifting the last obstacle to investments. This agreement resolved long-term problems such as the taxing of maritime and air transport based on the right of the flag and the location of the company. Pros and cons The advantages of the Turkish market include its young and dynamic population, with 60 percent of its people being under 30 years old and 30 percent under 15 years old, its specialized and disciplined work force, its dynamic entrepreneurs, its geopolitical position and the efficiency of the ruling party in making decisions. On the other hand, Turkey’s disadvantages are its unstable currency rate, the maintenance of an overvalued Turkish lira, the unpredictability of the legal system and the lack of specifications along with its non-adoption of those of the EU, the great lack of infrastructure, high taxation, problems in acquiring land and corruption.