Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah was received in Ankara on Monday by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the start of a three-day visit, during which he is expected to meet a host of officials.
The emir's visit is seen as yet another step in the development of Turkish-Kuwaiti relations, which Erdoğan recently described as "excellent." The visit is the fourth such Turkish-Gulf meeting in the last five weeks after Erdoğan met the leaders of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar during a tour of the region in mid-February.
It is the third meeting between Erdoğan and the Kuwaiti emir in the last two years. Last April, they met in Istanbul for an Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit and a year earlier, the president went to Kuwait to discuss Turkey's relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Kuwait is a leading member.
While in Kuwait, Erdoğan stressed the desire of many Turkish entrepreneurs to develop economic ties. The repeated visits and contacts reflect both sides' commitment to exchanging views and coordinating efforts to promote bilateral ties in a host of fields. According to Erdoğan, Kuwait represents Turkey's economic gateway into the Gulf, while Kuwait sees Turkey as its path into Europe and central Asia.
According to Development Minister Lutfi Elvan, who recently visited Kuwait, economic ties are developing rapidly, with Turkish contractors now carrying out some $6.3 billion worth of projects in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom. Elvan highlighted the Kuwait International Airport project, which is being conducted by Turkey's Limak Holding. In 2015, Limak won the tender for construction of a new terminal at the airport for a total cost of $4.3 billion, the largest tender won abroad in a single package by Turkish contractors. Limak Holding chairman Nihat Özdemir said recently that the company hoped to complete the new terminal within four years, two years ahead of schedule.
According to Elvan, Kuwait plans to initiate several massive projects, worth around $150 billion, over the next five years. He went on to say he hoped Turkish firms would secure the lion's share of these. The Kuwait Investment Authority remains active in Turkey, particularly in the real estate, retail, banking and air transport sectors, as well as in the Turkish stock market.
According to Kuwait's official KUNA news agency, Kuwaiti investment in Turkey hit $5 billion in 2015, especially after the implementation of Turkey's freehold property ownership law, which allows Gulf citizens to own property in Turkey. Kuwait is now one of the top five foreign investors in the country.
The Kuwait Turk Participation Bank, founded in 1989, is an example of the burgeoning economic cooperation between the two countries and in terms of overall asset size; the bank is now considered one of Turkey's leading Islamic banks. Meanwhile, according to the GCC Chambers of Commerce Union, commercial exchanges between Turkey and Kuwait currently stand at around $2 billion, KUNA reported.
Via : KUNA
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