With Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Izmir planned for February, Turkish businesses will call for the removal of restrictions so they can invest in Greece.
“Greece is still largely closed to foreign investment. There are around 2,000 Greek companies in Turkey, but only 20 Turkish companies there,” said İzmir Chamber of Commerce head Ekrem Demirtaş in a written statement.
“Turkish companies face problems in the Greek market in hiring people, receiving residence permits and opening offices. We have provided all opportunities to lure more foreign investment to Turkey, but Greece doesn’t do the same. We’ll voice our demands during Tsipras’ visit to İzmir in February,” Demirtaş added.
He also highlighted that trade has quickly risen in the past decade and a half.
“The trade volume between Turkey and Greece has increased from around $200 million in 2000 to $4 billion over the last decade,” Demirtaş said, adding that a number of political issues between the countries are still waiting for resolution including the Cyprus issue which he believes can be solved through economic integration..
Demirtaş also said the recent launch of flights between Izmir and Athens would make a positive contribution to trade relations in the short term.
“We also expect the opening of a marine connection between Izmir and Thessalonica,” he added.
Izmir, formerly known by its Greek name of Smyrna, was a majority Greek city before the 1922 Great Fire that destroyed the Greek and Armenian quarter of the city, killing over 100,000 Christians and forced the remaining Greeks and Armenians out of the city.