Turkey attracted a record $9.7 billion (7.6 billion euros) of foreign direct investment last year, beating government expectations of $5 billion, Economy Minister Ali Babacan said May 8. "We achieved a historic summit with $9.7 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2005, more than three times the figure in 2004," Babacan said.
Babacan said the level of FDI had exceeded one billion dollars in the first quarter and predicted that the year-end value would surpass the 2005 figure.
Turkey reported FDI of $1.7 billion in 2003 and $2.8 billion in 2004. The government expects to attract more than $16 billion between 2006 and 2008.
Babacan said that Ankara was planning administrative reforms to improve the investment environment since a complex financial system and bureaucratic red-tape currently scare many foreign investors away.
Foreign investment is vital for the Turkish economy because it would help consolidate recovery from a severe financial crisis five years ago.
Turkey is preparing for membership in the EU, with which it began accession talks in October.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006