Turkish-Greek affairs concerns trade, tourism, investment, euros and dollars. Turkish direct investments in Greece stand at a disproportionate $200 million. There are only 20 Turkish companies operating in Greece, mostly in banking, furniture, marina, textiles and paper industries. The top Turkish investor in Greece is the state-run Ziraat Bankası, with a portfolio of $90 million.
Officials and businessmen on both sides of the Aegean are now working day and night to explore new opportunities. In February, the Bureau of Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Greek Embassy in Ankara organized a successful tourism forum in Ankara and lured more than 100 major Turkish and Greek tourist agents, hotel owners and cruise companies.
Tourism is one of the most promising sectors. Greek tourist arrivals in Turkey have been largely flat in recent years. The Turkish tourist interest in neighboring Greece is impressive. Turkish arrivals in Greece rose from 161,000 in 2007 to 602,000 in 2012, an increase of 274 percent. The growth continues.
In the first months of 2013, 581,000 Turks stepped foot on Greek soil, up from 466,000 in the same period of 2012. Today, Greek and Turkish tourist businesses have a common goal to increase tourist flow between Turkey and Greece.
In 2013, the Greek Embassy in Ankara organized a group to promote investment opportunities mainly in tourism, renewable energy sources, construction and food and beverages.
The Greek Embassy is also planning trade missions from Turkey’s powerful economic provinces to particular regions in Greece. Meanwhile, an Investment Forum will take place in Ankara Feb. 27, 2014, with particular emphasis on sectors like tourism, real estate, construction, energy and renewable energy sources, food and beverages, agriculture and aquaculture, logistics, export-oriented manufacturing, mining, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and information technologies.
Businessmen from both countries agree that the most promising sectors to cooperate include agriculture, food and beverages, tourism, construction, building materials and renewable energy sources. They are discussing not only trade, promotion of complementary commodities and joint ventures, but also developing new products that would then be exported to third countries.