‘Turkey is on Taiwan's radar’: Representative

By Cansu Dikme

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AA) – Turkey is on Taiwan's radar, though not a part of its South Asia initiative policy, a Turkish representative in Taiwan said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Murat Baklaci, representative at Turkish Trade Office in Taipei, said: “Taiwan adopted a South Asia initiative policy. Besides this, it shows a great interest in Turkey and attaches importance to it."

“Though not part of its initiative to place importance on our country, Turkey is on Taiwan’s radar as a country at the Asian-most end,” said Baklaci.

Baklaci cited the rise in the recent figures of Taiwanese tourists visiting Turkey and said direct flights of Turkish Airlines almost reached their full capacity.

“In 2017, 70,000 people travelled to Turkey from Taiwan. We expect this figure to top 90,000 in 2018.

“Also, the Turkish Airlines flights are rather full. The occupancy rate is 94.5 percent for the whole year,” Baklaci stated.

He underscored the Turkish national flag carrier’s role in Taiwan’s interest in Turkey, saying its direct flights between Istanbul and Taipei — launched in 2015 — are one reason.

“Turkish Airlines plans to increase the number of flights by adding two more a week [to reach nine] due to the high mutual demand,” he said.

– Economic relations

Economic and touristic motives are behind the high demand, Baklaci said.

“For 10 months, I have constantly come across Taiwanese businesspeople who want to make investments in Turkey, especially in the machinery sector,” Baklaci said.

Baklaci was appointed as the Turkish representative of the Taiwan-Turkey Trade Office in December 2017.

He also mentioned two firms involved in electric motors and machinery equipment that are willing to make an investment in Turkey, while citing another company on solar energy that already made an investment in the Mediterranean Antalya province a few months ago.

Taiwan, an energy-poor island, strives to improve its industrial production for supporting its economy. The country prioritizes high value-added technological production areas, particularly renewable technologies, to expand its export product line-up.

The Turkish solar sector is among the high-potential markets and Taiwan aims at developing these kinds of solar foreign markets.

Stating that the current trade volume between Turkey and Taiwan is around $1.7 billion, Baklaci said Turkey’s exports to the country are almost $300 million.

The most imported products, on the other hand, are electronics and machinery equipment, he added.

Taiwan exports chemical and textile products, as well as olive oil and agricultural products, including figs, apricots and hazelnuts.

Meanwhile, Turkey will start exporting cherries to Taiwan in 2019, Baklaci said, adding the pre-export process concluded following the visit of a site inspection delegation to Turkey this year to observe the picking, stocking, packaging as well as the cooling chain.

“This is a startup to bring Turkish agricultural products to Taiwan. A memorandum of understanding on agricultural products was recently signed. So, cherries are an important product for us,” he said.

– Cultural, touristic ties

He added: “Our next goal is to expand the range of agricultural products being exported.”

Asserting that Taiwanese people have a great sense of wonder about Turkey, Baklaci said: “Especially, Cappadocia is in the limelight.”

He also said the Taiwanese voice interest in Turkish cuisine.

“Tour companies say Taiwanese taste Turkish cuisine wherever they go and say it is delicious.”

Baklaci said tour companies plan to offer different tour programs to the Taiwanese, giving an eastern Turkey tour as an example.

Stressing the “high tourist potential” for Turkey, Baklaci said Taiwan is a cultural draw for Turkish people in return.

He also voiced hope for the future of cultural and touristic relations between Turkey and Taiwan.

“Our biggest goal is to increase the number of tourists,” Baklaci said.

– Taiwan respects Turkey’s aid to Syrian refugees

Turkey and Taiwan have no diplomatic relations, but this is not an obstacle to building cooperation in various areas, according to Baklaci.

Among them is collaboration in aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey, he said, mentioning a Taiwanese relief foundation operating in Istanbul and the southern Hatay province.

He said the foundation provides education and free health care to Syrian refugees in Turkey.

“Taiwanese people respect Turkey’s hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees,” Baklaci said.

Education, health and security are other areas of cooperation between Turkey and Taiwan.

In September, a memorandum of understanding was inked between the national libraries of both countries, he said.

He also said they countries are working on cooperation between their police forces.

When concluded, a mechanism will be established to pursue counter-terror activities closely, Baklaci stated.

Advertisements

Turkey: Over 127,000 houses sold in September

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey recorded over 127,000 house sales in September, falling 9.2 percent on a yearly basis, the country's statistical office announced Friday.

TurkStat reported that nearly 67,000 newly-built houses were sold while the rest were second-hand sales last month.

Istanbul, Turkey's largest city by population, saw the highest number of property sales with 20,216 units, accounting for some 15.9 percent of overall sales in September.

The capital Ankara and the Aegean province of Izmir followed Istanbul with 11,368 and 6,207 house sales, respectively.

"The mortgaged house sales throughout Turkey was 11,330 — a drop of 72 percent compared to the same month of the previous year," the institute said.

"House sales with a mortgage had an 8.9 percent share of all house sales in Turkey," TurkStat said.

From January to September, nearly 750,000 house sales were recorded in Turkey, as the overall residential property sales amounted to 1.4 million in 2017.

– Sales to foreigners

In September, property sales to foreigners surged by 151.1 percent year-on-year, reaching 5,615 units.

Istanbul was the most preferred city with 1,799 sales and it was followed by the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya with 1,038 sales.

Official figures showed that most house sales were made to Iraqi citizens as they bought 1,351 properties last month.

"The followers of Iraq were Iran with 538 house sales, Kuwait with 360 house sales, Saudi Arabia with 312 house sales and Germany with 299 house sales," TurkStat said.

Since the beginning of this year, foreigners purchased more than 24,000 houses in Turkey, while over 22,000 properties were sold last year.

TurkStat will release its next property sales report — for October — on Wednesday, November 21.

Turkey’s net int'l investment position rebounds in Aug.

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's net international investment position (IIP) showed a recovery in August, Turkish Central Bank (CBRT) said on Thursday.

The data, still negative, slimmed nearly 30 percent from the end of 2017, according to CBRT.

Liabilities against non-residents recorded $551.1 billion with a decrease of 20.6 percent over the same period and assets abroad totaled $226.9 billion, going down 2.5 percent.

As a result, Turkey's net IIP — the gap between external assets and liabilities amounted to minus $324.2 billion as of August, while the figure was minus $461.7 billion at the end of last year.

According to the CBRT, the IIP is a monthly statistical statement that shows at a point in time the stock value of financial receivables and liabilities of residents of an economy from residents of another economy, and financial assets kept as gold.

"In other words, the net position of total claims of Turkey on non-residents vis-a-vis total liabilities of Turkey to non-residents is the net IIP," the bank said, noting that the figure may either be positive or negative.

As a sub-item under assets, reserve assets fell by 17.5 percent to $88.9 billion as of August, while other investments were $86.4 billion marking an increase of 13 percent.

"Currency and deposits of banks, one of the sub-items of other investment, recorded $44.6 billion indicating an increase of 27.6 percent compared to the end of 2017," the CBRT said.

Including equity capital and other capital, direct investments under liabilities were $99.2 billion — down 49.3 percent — "with the contribution of the changes in the market value and foreign exchange rates".

"Foreign exchange deposits of non-residents held within the resident banks recorded $37 billion at the end of August 2018, reflecting an increase of 1.3 percent compared to the end of 2017, and Turkish lira deposits decreased by 21.9 percent recording $10.3 billion," according to the bank.

The average USD/TRY exchange rate was 5.74 in August, while the eight-month average rate was around 4.38 and one dollar was traded for 3.65 liras on average last year.

"Total external loan stock of the banks recorded $90.4 billion decreasing by 4.7 percent compared to the end of 2017, and total external loan stock of the other sectors recorded $109.6 billion increasing by 1.3 percent," the CBRT added.

EU's trade balance records over $15B deficit in Jan-Aug

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Foreign trade balance of the European Union saw a deficit of €13 billion ($15.6 billion) in January-August this year, according to the EU's statistical office on Tuesday.

In the eight-month period, the 28-member bloc's exports of goods rose by 4.2 percent year-on-year to reach nearly €1.286 trillion ($1.544 trillion), while imports from the rest of the world totaled some €1.299 trillion ($1.560 trillion) with an annual hike of 5.3 percent.

Eurostat noted that intra-EU28 trade were €2.32 trillion in the same period, up 5.7 percent on a yearly basis.

This January to August, one euro was exchanged for $1.20 on average, while the average EUR/USD exchange rate was 1.10 over the same period last year.

Official figures showed that more than 20 percent of the EU's eight-month exports went to the U.S., amounting €265 billion ($318 billion) and making the country top export market for the bloc.

Following the U.S., the EU’s other main export destinations were China, Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey in the same period.

With some €252 billion ($302 billion) or 19.4 percent of total imports, China was the top source for the EU, followed by the U.S., Russia, Switzerland, and Norway.

On the country-to-country trade balance side, the bloc saw the largest deficit with China — around €116 billion ($139 billion) –, and the highest surplus with the U.S. some €90 billion ($108 billion) in the first eight months of 2018.

Turkish private sector's loans from abroad down in Aug.

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish outstanding private sector loans received from abroad fell in August compared to the end of 2017, the Central Bank announced Tuesday.

Excluding trade credits, private sector's short-term loans totaled $17 billion, marking a $1.6 billion decline from the end of last year, as 77.8 percent consists of liabilities of the financial institutions, according to the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT).

As of August, long-term loans amounted to $219.4 billion, going down $2.4 billion over the same period, while non-financial institutions' share was 50.5 percent.

"Regarding the currency composition, of the total long-term loans in the amount of $219.4 billion, 60.2 percent consists of U.S. dollar, 34.9 percent consists of euro, 3.2 percent consists of Turkish lira and 1.7 percent consists of other currencies,” CBRT said, adding:

"And of the total short-term loans in the amount of $17.0 billion, 49.5 percent consists of U.S. dollar, 33.4 percent consists of euro, 17.0 percent consists of Turkish lira and 0.1 percent consists of other currencies.”

The bank also said that principal repayments of the private sector’s total outstanding loans received from abroad amounted to $68.7 billion for the next 12 months.

UPDATE – Turkey, Romania agree to increase trade to $10 billion

UPDATES WITH REMARKS FROM TURKISH PRESIDENT, ROMANIA'S PREMIER

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Ankara and Bucharest have agreed to increase bilateral trade volume to $10 billion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

"We foresee an increase this year in our bilateral trade volume, which stood at around $6 billion in 2017. During our bilateral talks, we agreed to increase this to $10 billion," Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dancila at the Presidential Complex in capital Ankara.

Erdogan said over 15,000 Turkish firms are active in Romania in the areas ranging from banking to media and from construction to manufacturing.

"We will continue to support our businesspeople’s investments in Romania," he added.

He also called on businesspeople in Romania to invest in Turkey.

Dancila, for her part, said Romania and Turkey have huge potential and the two countries have carried out cooperation in the areas of defense, trade, education and culture.

Erdogan noted the Turkish-Romanian relations were raised to the level of a strategic partnership in 2011.

Dancila said strategic partnership between the two countries are "very strong".

Erdogan said Turkey expects from Romania to continue its cooperation against terrorist organizations.

"We will not forget the solidarity of Romania with our country after the July 15 FETO coup attempt," the president said.

Erdogan said Ankara continues contacts with officials in Romania for taking necessary steps against FETO-linked people and institutions.

Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Erdogan said Romania's taking over of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU on Jan. 1, 2019 will be an important opportunity for the relations.

He added Turkey will establish a close relationship with the EU during Romania's presidency in the first half of the next year.

Dancila said Romania continues to support Turkey's EU bid.

UPDATE – Turkish lira hits 2-month high, stocks up at close

UPDATES WITH MORE DAILY FIGURES

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's benchmark stock index climbed 2.04 percent to close at 98,631.27 points on Monday, while the value of the Turkish lira against the U.S. dollar hit a two-month high.

Starting the week at 97,346.96 points, Borsa Istanbul's BIST 100 index went up 1,973.85 points from last week's close of 96,657.42 points. For a third consecutive business day, the BIST 100 closed the day in the green, as it rose by 0.32 percent on Thursday and 2.02 percent on Friday.

The BIST 100 saw above 99,000 points — reaching daily peak at 99,037.88 points in Monday's trading. Compared with the previous close, 86 stocks on the index rose, 12 fell, and two were flat.

The BIST banking index showed the strongest performance among all sectors, rising 4.99 percent, while the BIST metal products machinery index fell the most with a 0.20 percent drop.

Shares of casting producer Cemas Dokum (CEMAS) were the top gainer — up 12.93 percent, and stocks of automotive manufacturer Ford Otosan (FROTO) saw Monday's worst record, going down 4.25 percent.

The BIST 100's listed companies' trade volume was 9.72 billion liras ($1.67 billion), ending Monday with a total market value of some 645 billion liras ($109.3 billion).

Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding ($7.13 billion), iron and steel producer Eregli Demir Celik ($6.51 billion), and energy giant Tupras ($5.78 billion) were the leading companies by market capitalization.

Private lender Garanti, defense company Aselsan, national flag carrier Turkish Airlines, state-run lender Halkbank, and petrochemicals producer Petkim recorded the highest daily trade volumes.

By market close, the USD/TRY exchange rate fell to 5.7830, down from Friday's closing rate of 5.9320, marking the lira's best showing in two months.

The average U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate was 6.04 during the first two weeks of October, 6.38 last month, and 5.74 in August.

The euro/lira rate also showed a steep decline — standing at 6.7020 versus 6.8510 at the previous close — and one British pound exchanged for 7.6080 compared to 7.8240 at Friday's close.

One ounce of gold was sold for $1,225.00 at Monday's close in Borsa Istanbul's Precious Metals and Diamond Markets, while the price was $1,221.00 at the previous close.

The price of Brent oil was around $80.58 per barrel as of 6 p.m. local time (1500GMT), hovering between $79.86 and $81.86 during Monday's trading.

Since the beginning of this year, Brent oil price has risen from $66 a barrel.

Turkish lira hits 2-month high, stocks up at close

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's benchmark stock index climbed 2.04 percent to close at 98,631.27 points on Monday, while the value of the Turkish lira against the U.S. dollar hit a two-month high.

Starting the week at 97,346.96 points, Borsa Istanbul's BIST 100 index went up 1,973.85 points from last week's close of 96,657.42 points. For a third consecutive business day, the BIST 100 closed the day in the green, as it rose by 0.32 percent on Thursday and 2.02 percent on Friday.

By market close, the USD/TRY exchange rate fell to 5.7830, down from Friday's closing rate of 5.9320, marking the lira's best showing in two months.

The average U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate was 6.04 during the first two weeks of October, 6.38 last month, and 5.74 in August.

The euro/lira rate also showed a steep decline — standing at 6.7020 versus 6.8510 at the previous close — and one British pound exchanged for 7.6080 compared to 7.8240 at Friday's close.

One ounce of gold was sold for $1,225.00 at Monday's close in Borsa Istanbul's Precious Metals and Diamond Markets, while the price was $1,221.00 at the previous close.

The price of Brent oil was around $80.58 per barrel as of 6 p.m. local time (1500GMT), hovering between $79.86 and $81.86 during Monday's trading.

Since the beginning of this year, Brent oil price has risen from $66 a barrel.

Turkey attracts $7B direct investment in 8 months

By Eda Topcu

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey attracted nearly $7 billion direct investment in the first 8 months of 2018, said head of the country’s presidential investment office.

This figure was almost the same with the last year's January-August period, Arda Ermut told Anadolu Agency.

He noted that Turkey is expected to attract over $11 billion direct investment by the end of the current year, which is more than the 2017's figures.

“When looking at economic issues […] it is important that figures did not drop compared to the last year,” he said, adding: “But we think that Turkey's investment potential was much higher."

The year 2019 will be a positive one with regards to investments due to structural measures, Ermut said.

"Turkey will continue to attract the attention of international investors," he said.

Turkey to root out 'terror nests' in east of Euphrates

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will root out "terror nests" in east of Euphrates river in Syria soon, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.

"Hopefully very soon, we will root out terror nests also in east Euphrates with the support of commandos, who are pinned today with badges," Erdogan said at a military ceremony in central Isparta province.

Erdogan said Turkey dealt a major blow to the members of terrorist organizations at home.

He added Turkey removed "traitors" in the army after a failed coup attempt staged by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) on July 15, 2016.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Speaking about the economy, Erdogan said Turkey continues to maintain investments and expand its economy.

"Being exposed to some speculative attacks in the economy recently does not change the fact that we are the world’s 13th largest country in terms of purchasing power parity and ranked 17 in terms of national income," he added.