With Istanbul Finance Center, a project expected to be launched by early 2022, Turkey targets to be a hub for Islamic finance, the nation’s president said on Thursday.

“We are seeking to become one of the important centers in the world with the Istanbul Finance Center. We want this project to become a center for Islamic finance as well,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video message to an economy event — Regional Finance Conference — held in Istanbul.

The president added that the legislative work regarding the landmark project will be completed soon.

The Istanbul Finance Center project is set to serve as a global hub for financial systems and non-banking financial methods.

Turkey, Erdogan said, has a lure for foreign investors with tax exceptions and discount.

He also mentioned steps to improve the infrastructure environment and moves to link transportation corridors which create opportunities for investors.

“There are many fields in which we can cooperate, from energy to transportation, defense industry, technology, finance, and food. We expect investors to make the most of these opportunities.”

Erdogan said it is an important gain that Turkey’s name comes to the fore for alternative destinations to the Asian-based production and supply network.

“As a government that has carried out historical reforms in every field for the last 19 years, we are determined not to let this trust in Turkey fail,” he pledged.

– Turkey’s economic growth despite pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been struggling with a global crisis which has both economic and health-related fallouts, the Turkish leader said, adding last year’s economic data clearly showed what kind of a storm the world is being dragged into.

He recalled that the world economy narrowed by 3.5%, the global trade decreased by nearly 10%, international direct investments dropped by 42%, and global debts reached the record level of $282 trillion last year.

Most of the countries are trying to get through this crisis by retreating into their own shells, instead of opening up and sharing the burden, he criticized.

Disruptions especially in production and supply chains will cause problems of which effects will take long years, he warned.

Turkey, he said, did not suspend production, logistics, employment, and industrial activities in this process by adopting a different method in fight against the pandemic.

With support for the business world, traders, small and medium-sized enterprises, and farmers, Turkey closed 2020 with a positive growth rate – 1.8% – despite a negative economic climate and supply chain problem, Erdogan stressed.

Turkey was among the G20 countries posting the largest economic and industrial production growth rates last year, he stated.

“We maintained this momentum by achieving growth rates of 7.2% in the first quarter and 21.7% in the second quarter of 2021.”

Likewise, Turkey broke a record in exports and exceeded the $212 billion level on an annual basis this September.

Despite a 35% fall in investments globally during the pandemic, there has been no slowdown in Turkey, the president said. “We hopefully expect to complete 2021 with a growth rate of 9%.”

* Writing and contributions by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul

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