Dubai Towers to show new face of Turkey


A pair of towers being constructed in Istanbul symbolises a renewal of interest among foreign investors in Turkey following the country's economic recovery.

By Allan Cove for Southeast European Times in Istanbul -- 04/01/06


The towers will include a five-star hotel, luxury residences, shops and office space. [File]

Foreign investment was noticeably on the rise in Turkey during 2005. The country's credit ratings have been ticking upward, while analysts speak of an "economic miracle" in a country that only a half-decade ago was in crisis.

A pair of 150-metre towers being constructed in Istanbul provides a potent symbol of the renewed interest among foreign investors. Known as the "Dubai Towers," the project is the result of a deal between the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Dubai Holding's international subsidiary, Dubai International Properties, under which $5 billion in Gulf capital will flow into Turkey over the next four years.

The agreement came shortly after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's October visit to the United Arab Emirates. It also followed the EU's decision to start accession negotiations with Turkey. According to analysts, the prospect of Turkey becoming the first Muslim state to enter the EU has prompted a surge of interest among Arab investors.

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Dubai Towers will be a multi-use complex, containing a five-star hotel, luxury residences, shops and office space at a cost of $500m. Dubai International Properties will assume 80 per cent of the estimated cost, while the municipality will take on 20 per cent -- the maximum allowed under regulations set by the Capital Markets Board.

"If completed as planned, the towers will be the tallest buildings in Istanbul," explained Mayor Kadir Topbas at a joint press conference with Dubai Holding Executive Chairman Mohammed Al Gergawi. "Future projects will help clear Istanbul of its blighted shantytowns and also will help make the city's building stock more resistant to earthquakes," he added.

For his part, Al Gergawi hailed the "increasing political and economic stability" of Turkey, which he said made it possible for Istanbul to be a platform for large-scale real estate development.

"We analyse global markets and trends, and Turkey's economy has been moving from strength to strength. Our selection of Turkey for such a project reflects our trust in the growth potential of the Turkish economy, and its position as a strategic international hub for business, trade and tourism," Al Gergawi said, adding that Dubai Holding already is in the process of identifying other potential projects.

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