Babacan makes case for business hub in Istanbul
Turkey's rapid recovery from the global downturn is giving new impetus to government plans to turn Istanbul into an international financial center to rival Dubai or eventually even London, Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan told The Wall Street Journal in an article published yesterday. The WSJ reported how this week Istanbul hosted two big financial conferences, including the Global Economic Symposium. According to a survey released last week, in April Istanbul was the world's fastest-improving financial center. "We have a lot to do," said Babacan, but added that he believes Turkey has on its side geography, a thousand-year tradition as a trading center, and a wave of history that is shifting wealth and power from West to East. "The international financial downturn has only added to Istanbul's attractiveness," he explained. "Especially after the global economic crisis, Turkey increasingly is perceived as an island of stability in a region that stretches from Ireland to India." Babacan also stated that Turkey's financial sector was "tested and proved" during the crisis. Babacan heads a task force that was set up last year to implement the government's plan to boost Istanbul. As a concrete example of progress, Babacan said that Justice Ministry is developing commercial courts which will take financial sector disputes out of Turkey's regular court system.