Invest News DetailHurriyet Daily News- US-based companies are becoming increasingly interested in using Turkey as a gateway to enter markets in Iraq, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, according to Rahsan Cebe, the newly elected chairwoman of the American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT). "ABFT is currently getting a lot of inquiries from US companies interested in doing business in Turkey’s neighboring countries in cooperation with Turkish companies" said Cebe, who was appointed to the two-year post last week and is also managing partner at Cushman & Wakefield’s Istanbul operations. "A number of US construction companies know that Turkish companies are very active in the Middle East, and are looking for ways to enter the market in cooperation with them." Last year, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey totaled USD 14.7 billion, of which USD 859 million, or 5.8 percent, came from the United States. During 2004-2008, US investments in Turkey accounted for some 9.9 percent of the total FDI inflow. "US companies are mainly interested in the Turkish finance, insurance, energy, automotive, food and beverage sectors" said Cebe. "Pharmaceutical companies are also interested in investing in Turkey.” Recently, US companies have also become more interested in the Turkish real estate sector, said Cebe, noting that interest in the Turkish realty market is rising not only on the back of the dynamics of the market, but also thanks to the approach of the current government, which has largely succeeded in clarifying the regulations on realty ownership. "Turkish shopping-center development is already attracting notable investors" said Cebe. "The boost in Turkey’s high-street shopping culture and the lack of them in many cities also add to the potential in the market."