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Turkish Economy Minister Zafer aglyan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the members of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on March 2 during a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, in a move to build more economic bridges in the Islamic world by boosting trade and investment among the parties. aglayan called for Turkish contractors to take a share from Saudi Arabian infrastructure investments in order to reach $1 trillion in 20 years.
The MoU signed by aglayan and the head of the IDB, Ahmed Muhammed Ali El Medeni, includes the detection of fields of cooperation between the countries to encourage bilateral trade and investments. The trade finance instruments and compliant insurance products will be developed to introduce new trade opportunities between financial institutions of IDB members and Turkey. The Turkish investors' insurance against political risks in IDB member countries will be incented, according to the protocol.
In a bid to enhance the bilateral relationship further, aglayan also gathered with Saudi businessmen, making the opening remarks at the Turkey-Saudi Arabia Business Forum on March 2.
$1 trillion investment
In his speech, the Turkish minister said Turkish businesspeople should seek opportunities in infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia, where investments reaching $1 trillion for the next 20 years are planned. In his remarks, he praised the work of Turkish contractors in projects around the world and said they would bring and use their expertise in Saudi Arabian projects as well.
aglayan also invited Saudi businesspeople to come to Turkey for investment, saying that his country had made major improvements in the investment environment with a new package of incentives.
Row with central bank
He underlined that Saudi Arabia has been one of the most important trade partners for Turkey, adding that the trade volume between the two countries totaled $8.1 billion in 2012 and that it can be much higher in the future. The minister also touched upon his ongoing row with Erdem Ba_, the governor of the Turkish Central Bank, saying he should speak less but more meaningfully.
"I'm a politician and I have to state an account so I need to talk, but I'm passing messages from many groups while saying this; the central bank head should talk less and more meaningfully," he said.
In late January, Central Bank Governor Erdem Bas stated the economy had "disembarked from a plane and was traveling on the highway," following a soft landing last year. aglayan has picked up on Bas's analogy in recent weeks and implied the government should get the final say in the issue as the governor is "only an officer of the state in the end."
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