"Made in Turkey" booms in Northern Iraq
Turkey's trade ties with northern Iraq have come to dominate the region's retail and construction markets. Approximately 60 percent of companies in northern Iraq are from Turkey, and the number of Turks working or running businesses in the region recently exceeded 15,000, while a further 20,000 truck drivers work to transport goods from northern Iraq to Turkey, according to data gathered by the Anatolia news agency. Atlas Jet, a Turkish carrier, has eased access to the region, with daily flights scheduled from Istanbul to Erbil International Airport. Turkish Airlines (THY) is also preparing to launch direct flights to Erbil, as thousands of Turkish businessmen and business organizations visit the country every year seeking investment opportunities. Turkey has opened a third consulate in Erbil due to the developed trade relationships and several banks, including state-owned Ziraat Bank, Vakif Bank and the country's biggest lender Isbank, have decided to open branches there, a development set to ease mutual trade. Tarkan Kadioglu, the head of the Eastern and Southeastern Industrialists' and Businessmen's Federation, said northern Iraqis see Turkey as a gateway to Europe. "But northern Iraq is Turkey's gateway to Iraq in general and the Middle East," he added.