Final International University held a conference on "Economic Developments and Expectations in the World in Turkey and in the TRNC’’ in cooperation with the TRNC Central Bank and the Turkish Cypriot Economic Association. The Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün, The Turkish Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek and the Economy and Energy Minister Sunat Atun made speeches at the opening of the third conference organized by FIU at the Acapulco Hotel.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün stated that the TRNC economy is shaped by the Cyprus problem and that it is affected by these developments, noting that economic embargoes and isolation are both affecting the economy negatively. He noted that the TRNC is predominantly a service economy and that since 1968, the Cyprus negotiations have created an environment of uncertainty.
He further noted that the negotiation process, which seemed to have been completed in the last Geneva Summit, is still continuing today, and facing difficulties due to the negative stance of Greek Cypriot side and the wound inflicted by their decision to introduce a celebration of Enosis. As the Cyprus problem continues, he said, the development of the economy is limited, and planning for the future constrained by uncertainty.
Prime Minister Özgürgün emphasized however that the TRNC economy has developed significantly over the years and that the education, health, tourism and agriculture sectors have made considerable progress. Referring to the water supply from Turkey, Özgürgün stated that the Güzelyurt and Mesarya irrigation projects had both been completed and that water will make a very important contribution to agricultural industry and employment.
Praising the entrepreneurship skills of the TRNC people, the Prime Minister said that if isolation and embargoes are lifted, the TRNC people will achieve far greater success. He also stated that with the assistance of Turkey, the people of North Cyprus had made great strides forward.
Turkey's Vice Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said that despite the political situation in Cyprus, the embargo and the current status, serious economic progress had been achieved. Reforms had been carried out boldly, and were the source of progress, he said, underlining that there were no miracle cures available, but nonetheless a determination to put the house in order. For all the difficulties, it was recognised that reforms brought new opportunities and resources to countries and ensured that they developed in a positive direction. Stating that Turkey will continue to be with the TRNC in every area, Şimşek emphasized that they did not see themselves apart from the TRNC.
Şimşek went on to say that: "We are very pleased that you are allocating more resources to investments" and he praised the Government's reforms and budget performance. He emphasized the importance of the reforms, Şimşek said that they supported a solution in Cyprus and stated that support would also continue the sustainable growth of the TRNC economy and its reforms and resources. He also noted that the TRNC had the potential to be one of the leading countries in the world in terms of the service and private service sectors.
Şimşek also spoke widely about the Turkish economy in his speech.
Economy and Energy Minister Sunat Atun pointed out that the global economic crisis of 2008 has directly and indirectly affected the TRNC negatively. Stating that the tight monetary policy of the United States affects developing countries, Atun stated that the TRNC, like Turkey, has a great advantage and potential.
Atun noted the slowdown in the TRNC economy but emphasized the acceleration of reforms since 2015, bringing the economy to a sound level through economic protocols. Ten years previously the budget deficit had been a nightmare with a large part of the funding devoted to budget deficits, whereas today the budget deficit was vastly reduced. The reforms carried out thus represented an enormous historical change and transformation. Whereas the budget for 2008 had been 2.125 billion, the figure today was 4.5 billion, with all individual targets reached. The number of students which was 35,000 in 2009 was now 100,000, and the number of tourists had increased from 400,000 to 1.2 million, with 4 million passengers coming in and out of Ercan Airport. The Minister emphasized again that the reforms have enable enhanced use of resources and a more positive budgetary outlook.
Mr Atun continued in his speech to note that the TRNC economy is expected to grow by 5.5 percent this year, with investments in Ercan Airport as well as the water supply project from Turkey providing significant contributions to the TRNC economy. Further investments in Telecommunication will also be made and there is an important project for the establishment of a trade port in the region as well as the restructuring of Famagusta Harbor.
The Chairman of the Turkish Economic Association and The Vice Rector of FIU Prof. Dr. Ercan Uygur stated that the conference reflects the approach of the FIU and that it sees sharing information as part of general education, as well as answering key economic questions.
Following the opening speeches, Prof.Dr. Dr. Asaf Savaş Akat from Bilgi University , the President of the Turkish Economic Association, the Vice Rector of Final International University Prof. Dr. Ercan Uygur, Prof. Dr. Seyfettin Gürsel from Bahçeşehir University, Turkish Cypriot Economic Association and Prof. Dr. Vedat Yorucu from Eastern Mediterranean University made presentations.
Turkey's Vice Premier Mehmet Şimşek was expected to leave the TRNC after the conference.
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