Amid the drop of the Turkish lira, attention is now focused on Gulf investments in Turkey and the extent to which they will be impacted by the sharp currency plunge.
Historically, Ankara has been a favorite investment destination for Gulf investors. With the government’s policy of economic openness, investments have doubled in recent years, providing economic opportunities to foreign investors.
The Turkish Investment Promotion and Development Agency, estimated that the value of Gulf investments in Turkey is US $19 billion, accounting for 9.4% of all foreign investments.
The Gulf countries are the third largest source of foreign investment in Turkey, after Britain and the Netherlands.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Economy, there were 1,973 functioning Gulf companies in Turkey in 2017.
In 2017, Saudi investments in Turkey totaled to about $1.036 billion, followed by UAE investments at $445 million, Kuwait at $291 million, Qatar at $117 million, Bahrain at $63 million, and Oman at $21 million.
According to previous statements by Saudi-Turkish Business Council member, Ziad Bassam, there are about 800 Saudi companies investing in Turkey.
The share held by Saudis in the Turkish stock market is 2.4%, while the total share of the GCC countries in the Turkish stock market is between 5% and 7%.
According to official figures of the Turkish Agency for Investment Promotion and Development, trade exchange between the Gulf countries and Turkey in 2016, amounted to about $16 billion.
The UAE is in the lead with $9.107 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia with $5.010 billion, Qatar with $710 million, Kuwait with $542 million, Bahrain with $321 million and Oman with $293 million.
The second Gulf-Turkish Investment Forum, held in Bahrain in November 2016, revealed that properties sold to foreign investors in Turkey accounted for 24% of sales, mostly brought by Gulf investors.
The number of Gulf tourists to Turkey exceeds 750,000 tourists annually.