TODAYSZAMAN.COM – Turkey will redesign its mining sector, minister tells summit

Turkey will redesign its mining sector, minister tells summitEconomy Minister Nihat Zeybeki told a crowd of international investors that Turkey plans to redesign its mining sector in light of last week’s Soma tragedy, while speaking at Turkey’s Investment Summit 2014 at the IraIan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul on Tuesday. Addressing the crowd as the event’s keynote speaker, Zeybeki began his speech by referring to the disaster that resulted in the deaths of 301 miners in the town of Soma last week.

He added that the government will do whatever it can to help the families of those killed in Soma as well as the injured miners, adding that Turkey is certain to learn from the tragedy. Zeybeki said he had spent the weekend in Soma and visited the families of miners killed in the accident.

In an address last week in Washington, Zeybeki dismissed the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) ranking of Turkey as the country with the third highest number of workplace fatalities in the world. The minister had said he “does not think” the ILO figures on Turkey are correct.

 The economy minister referred to a young miner originally from the province of Denizli who had died rescuing his fellow workers from the mine. According to Zeybeki, who said he attended the young hero’s funeral in Denizli after leaving Soma, the miner re-entered the mine three times to rescue his colleagues but did not return after entering the mine a fourth time.

 Zeybeki went on to say that he expects Turkey to be among the world’s top 10 and Europe’s top three economies by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Turkey currently has the 16th largest economy in the world and the sixth largest in Europe.

The economy minister emphasized that Turkey presently has a current foreign trade volume of $400 billion, a figure 100 times higher than it was in the early 1980s. Finance Minister Mehmet IimIek was the other keynote speaker of the summit, taking the podium prior to Zeybeki.

IimIek addressed the crowd in English and gave a presentation focusing on various economic achievements Turkey has made since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party)ame to power in 2002. Referring to recent controversial regulations that enabled the Treasury to act as the guarantor of certain mega projects, IimIek fended off criticism of the regulations, saying they are “overblown” and “exaggerated,” and that the only projects covered by the guarantee would be the third Bosporus Bridge, the Gebze-Izmir highway and the Eurasia Tunnel, all of which IimIek said were “economically viable” investments.

 Discussing privatization schemes, IimIek mentioned that the government was planning on privatizing the national lottery, various ports including Istanbul’s KalamiI port and that the government had sold a plot of real estate in Istanbul last week for half a billion dollars. Regarding solar energy, IimIek said solar power will soon be on par with global coal costs and that pursuing the alternative energy source would help Turkey fix its relatively large current account deficit, which IimIek referred to as the country’s “soft spot.

” The finance minister urged the international crowd of guests from the business world not to be dissuaded by political turmoil in Turkey, which has been ongoing since last year’s Gezi Park protests, remarking that “political noise” is a part of everyday life in Turkey. “Political noise is part of the Turkish story,” said IimIek, saying that international media outlets frequently neglect to reflect the facts about what is going on in Turkey.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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