Turkish president urges more Gulf investments

Kuwait and Turkey signed cooperation agreements in defence, trade and the media

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Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday called on wealthy Gulf states to boost investments and cooperation with Ankara, assuring them of political stability and high profitability.

"There are few risks and big profits in Turkey. It is an ideal country" for investments, Gul told a Kuwaiti-Turkish business forum in Kuwait City.

"Be assured that the same environment will continue to prevail in Turkey over the next 10 years," Gul said, in an apparent reference to Sunday's impressive victory by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party in local elections.

Gul arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday for a three-day visit, leading a high-level delegation of more than 100 people, including from the business sector.

Following talks with Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah late Tuesday, the two sides signed cooperation agreements in defence, trade and the media.

Gul opened the Kuwait office of Pegasus Airlines, a low-cost private carrier operating from Istanbul.

His country's finance minister, Mehmet Simsek, said Sunday's election results proved that "political stability in Turkey is not at a stake".

"The outcome of the local polls suggests that political stability is here to stay," Simsek told the forum while urging Kuwait and its partners in the energy-rich Gulf Cooperation Council to boost investments in Turkey.

"Very little investments come from GCC states... You invest your money in Europe and Europe invests in Turkey," he said, adding Europe provided 80 percent of foreign direct investment in Turkey in the past decade, amounting to $136 billion.

Most of the GCC members' estimated assets of $2 trillion are invested in Europe and the United States.

Simsek said Turkey's growth outlook was still positive, while inflation remained in the single digits.

In September 2008, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding with GCC states aimed at forging a strategic partnership in all fields, but Gul and his delegation said Wednesday it still needed to be activated.

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