QATAR: Turkey aims to become financial capital of the ME …Serving as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East due to its strategic geopolitical positioning

The Maslak 1453 model at the Agaoglu stand at Cityscape Qatar.

Serving as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East due to its strategic geopolitical positioning, Turkey construction giants in partnership with the Turkish government are seeking to become a major financial capital of the Middle East, according to Hasan Rahvali, CEO to Agaoglu, which is the single largest construction company in Turkey.
“Agaoglu opened an office in Dubai last year in response to the demand and attention at Cityscape Dubai 2012. Recent decrees by the Turkish government such as the Reciprocity Law now allow foreigners to acquire real estate in Turkey and if they do, they automatically obtain residency,” Rahvali told Gulf Times at his company’s stand at the recently concluded Cityscape Qatar 2013.
Competitive prices, climate, the parallel cultures and attractions have already resulted in Middle Eastern businesses setting up international offices in Istanbul. “One of our major projects – the Istanbul Finance Centre – aims to host all of Turkey’s financial institutions including big banks and auditors, the Treasury, and the stock exchange.”
According to Ali Agaoglu, Chairman and Founder of Agaoglu Group, the real estate investments concentrate on the Istanbul area, and mostly come from the Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.
“The Gulf countries represent a huge potential for the residential sector in that regard,” he said, pointing out that foreign sales of Agaoglu properties have exceeded $800mn following the Reciprocity Law.
“Our goal is to make an annual contribution of $5bn to the national economy.”
Rahvali said that the group’s presence at the Cityscape Exhibition was  not to attract retail investment, but make the Middle Eastern and international markets aware of the brand and its operations.
He added that the two major Agaoglu projects currently underway, the Maslak 1453 and the Instanbul Financial Centre, to be completed in 2015 and 2016 respectively,  focus on businesses and their operators currently established in Turkey.
“Our main target is residents but we aim to attract Middle Eastern people as well. Based on our projection, 70% of the property will be occupied by Turkey’s residents and 30% by Middle Eastern and foreign investors. So far, 65% of the Maslak 1453 project has been sold.”
The Maslak 1453, numbered after the year in which the Ottomans captured Istanbul, is a mixed use project, “currently one of the largest in Europe” which will showcase 4,800 residential units with 210,000 square metres for commercial use and 53,000 square metres for offices and composed of 24 towers between 21 and 55 floors.
The blueprints also include fashion centres, in and outdoor swimming pools, and a ground-level bazaar which will make Maslak 1453 a “small town”, according to Rihvali.
The Istanbul Finance Centre covers a 3.2 million square metre construction area and 850,000 square metre special project area.
Currently, it is in its excavation phase which has completed 2mn cubic metres of the 8.5 cubic metres needed to be cleared for the foundations.
“We aren’t in a hurry to advertise it just yet. But sales will commence for the international market next March. It’s the largest in Turkish construction history. Digging should be done by the end of the year,” Rihvali said confidently.

Source: Caye Global News, Gulf Times

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