11/6/2009

Van vies to be the industrial and commercial center of the East

Dunya – The eastern Anatolian province of Van will become a major industrial and commercial center with the planned free trade zone on the border between Iran and Turkey. "We can create a new low-cost production base along the Turkey-Iran border for the textile sector", said Van Governor Munir Karaloglu. The 7,000-year-old eastern Anatolian province is on the cusp of a massive economic regeneration thanks to Iranian-Turkish political efforts that have resulted in a joint project to build an international free industry and commerce zone. Using Iran’s cheap energy and Turkey’s know-how and technology, the idea is to produce goods in eastern Turkey on the Iranian border and transfer them to Central Asia and Iraq via a railway along the route of the historic Silk Road, which extends all the way to Pakistan. "Turkey has free trade zones and industrial zones, but no international free industry and commerce zone yet", said Karaloglu. "Industrialists from both countries will use a common area and energy from a foreign country. Customs duties will be abolished, although the legal foundations have not yet been laid." The project was first announced in September when Industry and Trade Minister Nihat Ergun traveled along the 280-kilometer border by helicopter to find a suitable area.