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The Turkish financial sector proved resilient during the global financial turmoil in 2009 as well as the ensuing economic crisis thanks to the regulatory reforms and structural overhaul that the government implemented in the wake of the countrys own financial meltdown in the early 2000s. In fact, the reforms in the sector boosted investor confidence so much that the industry has attracted USD 51 billion over the past 15 years.


Banking dominates the Turkish financial sector, accounting for more than 70 percent of overall financial services, while insurance services and other financial activities also show significant growth potential. There are 51 banks in Turkey (33 deposit banks, 13 development and investment banks, and 5 participation banks). Out of the 51 banks, 21 hold significant foreign capital (30 percent of total assets are held by foreign investors).


The Turkish insurance market is still underpenetrated (1.5 percent of GDP) compared to peer countries. It is set to capitalize on its significant potential as new insurers set up shop and acquire a share of the relatively untapped Turkish market. Turkey has seen strong economic growth fueled in part by a young and dynamic population that is increasingly in need of financial products and services.


A key driver of the Turkish financial sector has been the county’s robust economy. Over the past 15 years, the Turkish economy has been growing at an average annual real GDP growth rate of 5.7 percent, and the growth momentum is expected to continue.


Turkeys economic expansion has resulted in income growth and a burgeoning middle-class with increasing purchasing power.


As the Turkish economy developed, it integrated with the global economy and saw a staggering increase in its volume of international transactions. Such developments have further stimulated economic activity, thus expanding financial activities.


Turkey has also set specific economic targets to achieve by 2023, the centennial of the Republic. One of these targets is to transform Istanbul into a prominent financial center. Turkeys large and young population, qualified labor force, and rapidly developing markets along with its geo-strategic location, all make Istanbul an ideal candidate for an international financial hub. Since the government launched the project for the Istanbul Financial Center, Istanbul has rapidly made progress and is now considered to be one of the emerging financial centers of the world.