Free Zones Workshop Held on the Centennial Anniversary of Our Republic

Organized by the Ministry of Trade and the Free Zones Founders and Operators Association (SEBKİDER), the “Free Zones Workshop on the Centennial Anniversary of our Republic” was held in Antalya on February 16-18, 2024, to determine the future vision of free zones.

The workshop, opened by Deputy Minister of Trade Mustafa TUZCU and Director General of Free Zones Emel EMİRLİOĞLU, was attended by managers of 19 Free Zone Founding and Operating Companies operating nationwide, directors and deputy directors of free zones, and representatives of the Ministry of Trade’s Free Zones General Directorate.

In the opening speeches, Deputy Minister Tuzcu emphasized the significant contribution of free zones, which provide employment for up to 100,000 people and achieve exports exceeding 12 billion dollars, to our country’s progress towards important goals. Tuzcu mentioned that if considered as a city, free zones would be the 5th largest exporting city with their export volume of 12.7 billion dollars, and if considered as a country, they would rank around 80th among the 167 member countries of the World Trade Organization.

Reminding that our country’s target for merchandise exports in 2024 is 267 billion dollars, Tuzcu stated that like the example of our country increasing its exports sevenfold in the last 20 years, the share of our free zones in our country’s exports should be gradually increased from 6% to 9-10% by 2028. Tuzcu emphasized the importance of increasing the visibility of free zones to attract the necessary investments to achieve these goals.

Emel EMİRLİOĞLU, Director General of Free Zones, emphasized that with an investment amount reaching 7.5 billion dollars, free zones hosted 2,108 companies, including 545 foreign investors, due to increasing demand. Information was provided about the newly established free zones in İzmir-Bergama, İzmir-Menemen, Ordu-Ünye, and Samsun-Tekkeköy, as well as the expanded areas of the Aegean, Antalya, Bursa, and Kocaeli Free Zones, aimed at meeting the increasing demands of investors.

Emirlioğlu highlighted the importance of effectively promoting our free zones nationally and internationally to realize their potential, expressing satisfaction with the establishment of SEBKİDER.

Kemal ŞAHİN, SEBKİDER High Advisory Board Member, Chairman of the Board of Directors of European Free Zone Founders and Operators Inc., and the host of the workshop, emphasized that many countries, especially Germany and the USA, are in search of directing foreign investments, and in this context, free zones can be effectively used as instruments to attract foreign investments by providing a more efficient and effective investment environment.

Ali AVCI, SEBKİDER High Advisory Board Member, stated that within the scope of the green transformation, which is at the center of the global agenda, free zones should transition to more efficient, resource-efficient production models and invest in renewable energy sources to prepare free zones for the conditions of the European Green Deal.

Yusuf KILINÇ, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SEBKİDER and General Manager of ESBAŞ, stated that the synergy created between the Ministry and SEBKİDER through the workshop will be sustained through joint working groups to be established in the upcoming period, and this structure will be crucial in determining the vision and future roadmap of free zones.

As a result of the SWOT analysis conducted during the two-day workshop, it was decided to establish a joint working group with the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Trade and SEBKİDER to discuss the findings and create the Workshop Conclusion Report, where the policy priorities, objectives, and future action plans of free zones will be determined.

Scroll to Top