Turkey and Russia - Economic Integration Driving Regional Development

Mar 25, 2013, 08:00 ET from St Petersburg Economic Forum

ISTANBUL, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

More than 200 attendees from Russia and Turkey took part in a joint meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), held in Istanbul on March 21, 2013. The event was entitled 'Turkey and Russia - Economic Integration Driving Regional Development'. The session began with special addresses by Selahattin Çimen, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Turkey, and Igor Koval, Director of the Department for Investment Policy and Public-Private Partnership Development at the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The session was moderated by Daniel Dombey, Turkey Correspondent of the Financial Times.

Participants in the discussion shared their experience of doing business in both countries, noted an unprecedented growth in mutual investment and set out the priority areas for long-term cooperation between Russia and Turkey:

Thinking about Turkish investments in Russia we have seen that it has become a more predictable market, and Russian business has decided to invest in Turkey especially in the energy sector.

We have to look at the relationships in its entirety, not only in terms of balancing the trade, but also in terms of enriching trade and investments on both sides.

There is some degree of bureaucracy that will need to be reduced in terms of making trade and investments easy on both sides.

Tayfun Bayazıt, Vice-President of the Board of Directors, TUSIAD

Within the last 10 or 15 years the Republic of Turkey and the Russian Federation have developed ties on a bilateral basis really seen globally. A great momentum has been created.

Selahattin Çimen, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Turkey

The most dynamic aspect of our economic relations is the development of mutual investments. It is something that we attach particular attention to. One of the largest projects is the construction of the atomic power station in Turkey and also the acquisition of the Turkish bank by the Russian Sberbank.

Igor Koval, Director, Department for Investment Policy and Public-Private Partnership Development, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation

DenizBank was acquired last year with 4.1 billion US dollars by Sberbank. Throughout the history of Russia it has been the largest investment of Russia in one shot.

There is such an asymmetry between the two economies: one is energy rich, another is energy hungry. But it is very complimentary. It is one of the reasons why it is a strategic and very important step, I believe, that Sberbank invested to Turkey, because we are naturally hedging each other.

Hakan Ateş, President and CEO, DenizBank

It is not only the trade between the two countries that is important, but also investments. Trade is not enough. You have to foster investments to get two countries closer together. Trade is much simpler than investments. Trade is about goods and services crossing borders. Investment is about how confident you are that your investments in a given market are protected, how confident you are that you can grow your business, harvest returns, and ultimately take cash out or sometimes invest somewhere else. This is more of a long term relationships based decision than trade.

Sean Glodeck, Director, Russian Direct Investment Fund

When we look at investors from other countries that are afraid to go to Russia, we believe that we are a very good bridge for them, we can take them to Russia and explain them how to do business in Russia.

Kaan Arsla, Member of the Board, Rönesans Holding

It's not like we will just come and build a nuclear power plant - Turkish contractors will do half the work. Such large-scale projects serve to transfer not only construction skills or know-how, but also technology. That's what Turkey needs. Russia will not simply build a power plant and sell electricity - it will export technology.

Rauf Kasumov, Deputy Director of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

We don't have any problems or face any obstacles; all matters are resolved in the usual course of business, and we are very positive about our presence in the region.

Ivan Pronin, Director of the Department of Investment Projects at Inter RAO UES

The panel 'Turkey and Russia - Economic Integration Driving Regional Development' was held in the run-up to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), an annual summit on economic and business issues, which brings together the chief executives of major Russian and international companies, heads of state, and political leaders. SPIEF 2013 will be held in St. Petersburg on June 20-22. For more information, visit: http://www.forumspb.com.

SOURCE St Petersburg Economic Forum