World Bulletin / News Desk
Ankara has received initial applications from 1,200 investors for 19.6 billion liras’ worth ($5.22 billion) of regional projects, Turkey’s prime minister said Tuesday.
"As of Jan. 11, pre-requests from 1,200 applications for our Attraction Centers Program in 23 provinces reached 19.6 billion liras," Binali Yildirim told a news conference in Ankara.
Yildirim said that demand for such projects is expected to create an estimated 112,400 jobs in the country's eastern provinces.
The government announced last June that it would introduce hassle-free investment zones for companies in eastern Turkey, where some of the country’s most under-developed regions are located.
"The equity makes up 30 percent and the credit, which is interest free, makes up 70 percent. You [investors] will put 30 percent and the state will provide 70 percent of the investment. We won’t provide everything. Everybody will have a stake," Yildirim said.
Under the program, the government will take care of the needed infrastructure and government paperwork for investors who take ownership of their investments when the project is completed.
"By supporting manufacturing, we are opening up eastern Turkey to investment. We will give special incentives, like a 30 percent break on electricity bills, to investors who want to shift part of their investment to eastern and southeastern Turkey," Yildirim added.
The Turkish government aims to ensure high growth in the coming years after its economy contracted 1.8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, the first such contraction since 2009.
"There is money for people who really want to invest. We will work with those who put up a stake and produce, put a value on it, and provide food and jobs to people," Yildirim also said.
The government also wants the development program to empower young women to be entrepreneurs in 23 regions.
According to Turkish officials, the program will also help stem migration from eastern Turkey to bigger, more developed provinces, such as Istanbul and Ankara.
The government has also strengthened the financial structures of Turkey’s development bank in order to support more regional investment.