24 April 2012, Tuesday
We rank in first place with 5 billion dollars and we will probably reach 5.5 billion dollars this year and reach a limit of 6 billion dollars next year.
-How many firms are there in total in the Aegean Free Zone?
-240 firms including 76 foreign firms are performing production or commercial activities.
-What is the total employment?
-Total employment has already reached 20 thousand people. 77% of the current employment is created by foreign-invested firms. If we consider that the total employment in the 19 free zones in Turkey is 54 thousands, it is very important to see that 37% of the employment is created by the Aegean Free Zone, in terms of measuring the success of the ESBAŞ.
-What was the commerce volume in 2011?
-It was 5 billion dollars. It ranks as the first among the 19 free zones in Turkey.
-What is your target for 2012?
-5.5 billion dollars. It will reach a limit of 6 billion dollars in 2013.
Informing us that the trade volume reached 1.2 billion dollars with a rise of 8 % according to the data of the first quarter, Işıksoy said: “Our region has approached to 100 % capacity in terms of land use. We continue our efforts at the Ministry to include the expansion of another 600 thousand square meters onto the borders of the region”.
After aviation-space, machine, automotive, food, packing and electronics giants, Hollywood wants the Aegean Free Zone too
We speak with Ertuğrul Işıksoy, President of the Marketing and Promotion Group of ESBAŞ, about the development after Kaya Tuncer died and Mary Mills Tuncer took over the flag.
I learnt from Işıksoy that efforts are being made to increase the activity diversification in the free zones in the context of the Law on Special Economic Zones that is planned to be enacted by the Ministry of Economy and in this respect, two firms from Hollywood wanted their audiovisual assembly works to be built in the Aegean Free Zone in Gaziemir/İzmir.
Stating that they do not want to announce names for now, Isıksoy says: “We will come together in İstanbul this week. First we will listen to them to understand what they want. Later we will go to Ankara to ask for an opinion on this subject from the Ministry of Economy General Directorate of Free Zones. As you know, you should perform production or commerce to benefit from the advantages of the free zones. This is what the legislation says. So is the film sector production or a service? We will learn about it and prepare our road map according to the information we get.
Aegean Free Zone, Kaya and Mary Tuncer’s project, it is only taking over the flag
I ask Işıksoy about how the future of the Aegean Free Zone will be shaped after Kaya Tuncer’s death.
Mr. Ertuğrul starts by emphasizing that the Aegean Free Zone is the joint project of Kaya Tuncer and his wife, Mary Mills Tuncer.
Mentioning that Mary Mills Tuncer has been involved in the business since the very first day, she knows the region and the firms well and she has full knowledge of every detail, Ertuğrul Işıksoy continues by saying:
“She used to do the field surveys with Mr. Kaya, travel every inch of the region, take notes about everything including the burst pipes, broken pavement and the pavement and buildings with faded color and eventually guarantee that they are corrected. Besides, she put her signature on this landscape together with her team. She brought plants from the USA that are suitable to the climate of İzmir, grew them in the greenhouse and planted most of them with her own hand. She pioneered the establishment and management of the Space Camp Turkey and Global Friendship Through Space Education.”
Indicating that after the opening of Optimum, problems emerged in the entry-exit traffic due to the inadequacy of link roads, Işıksoy tells that: “Mrs. Mary who came to İzmir for the first meeting when she was chosen as the Chairman of the Board also set her hands on this matter. She started follow-up and measurement surveys on the traffic intensity to reduce the traffic jam. We continue our efforts at the Ministry to include the expansion land into the borders of the region”.
İzmir would have been more popular than Dubai today
Ertuğrul Işıksoy continues by saying: “Free zones are growing out of their limits. Special economic zones are on the agenda of the government. In these zones, education, entertainment, cinema, television, health, logistics and tourism sectors will also be supported on condition that they are innovative. Shortly, there will be a special zone for each sector. Turkey will talk about and create these projects in the new era. We expect the legal regulations to be made as soon as possible.”
-Isn’t it late?
-I agree that it is. İzmir would have been more popular than Dubai today with the Aegean Free Zone. But it can also happen now because nearly all the world is working for Turkey. Although everywhere else is undergoing a crisis, Turkey is shining like a diamond. In this respect, I think that the last stimulus package is right in terms of time. If it is well explained to the foreigners, we can attract the giants making production, creating employment and bringing technology that we call direct foreign investment to our region and to our country.
Kaya Tuncer raised the ESBAŞ so that it can take decisions and manage like himself
Ertuğrul Işıksoy states that ESBAŞ is managed by an Executive Board with 10 members under the presidency of Mecit Kanbertay, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board.
-Mr. Kaya Tuncer, seeing the future well before, raised the ESBAŞ so that it can take decisions and manage like himself. He created a wonderful work in a short time like 20 years. Mrs. Mary Tuncer expressed that the firm will be managed in the same way in line with the principles and guidelines belonging to Mr. Kaya Tuncer. She declared that the efforts to increase the contributions of the Aegean Free Zone into the Turkish economy will continue with the same staff in line with the missions and principles put by Mr. Kaya Tuncer and with the same determination.
Cummins, Kale-Pratt&Whitney, CMS are counting the days, there are other surprises on the way
We talk with Mr. Ertuğrul about the new investments in the Aegean Free Zone as well. He declares that foreign-invested firms which decided to invest in Turkey are continuing to pull their investments rapidly.
-Investments of over 250 million dollars made by Cummings and Kale-Pratt&Whitney from the USA which decided to make investment last year are continuing rapidly.
-What will be produced and in which area? How many people will be employed?
-Cummins which held the groundbreaking ceremony on 6 May 2011 will produce filters for generators and automobile engines in its facilities built in an area of 100 thousand square meters. Kale-Pratt&Whitney which held thegroundbreaking ceremony on 7 May 2011 will produce over 300 engine parts for the new generation F-35 war planes in its facilities to be built in an area of 100 thousand square meters. It is expected that 600 people will be employed in the first stage in the facilities of Cummins and Kale-Pratt&Whitney.
Ertuğrul Işıksoy informs us that plant construction of CMS, which is the rim giant of Izmir and who has decided last year to invest on a 100 thousand square meter land, reached the level of completion.
I ask: “Aren’t there any more investments in the coming days?” he keeps the names a secret but he gives this clue:
- Several firms, mainly aviation and automotive, among which there are world leaders, demanding an area of 600-700 thousand square meters are expecting news from us.
The world started to discover slowly: There will be bright days for İzmir
Işıksoy thinks that beginning this year, İzmir will become one of the fastest developing cities not only in Turkey but in the whole world. He says that the government’s attention to İzmir is increasing considerably, Ministers form Izmir are personally involved in the projects and they are paying close attention to the problems by visiting the city frequently. He continues by saying:
-“I think we have started to attract the attention of multinational firms by attracting more foreign capital investments than in the past. The world has started to discover İzmir slowly. When we consider these things, I can say that there will be bright days for İzmir starting from 2012.”
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