We in Turkey spent 2019 with an election, war in neighboring countries, fluctuations in exchange rates, Brexit, China-US trade wars and fighting difficult economic circumstances. The biggest sources of uncertainty throughout the year were the Middle East and the Eurozone, where economic activity signaled a slowdown, and the Coronavirus outbreak at the end of the year changed the world's agenda.
The Corona virus outbreak (COVID-19), which started in China and spread all over the world, points out that it will cause serious damage in 2020 to all economies, regardless of them being developed, underdeveloped or developing.
Turkey, having completed 2018 with a growth of 2.8%, was able to end 2019 with a growth of 0.9%, small but a growth nonetheless. In 2019, after the negative growth in the first two quarters, the growth in the last two quarters - especially 6.0% growth in the last quarter - increased optimism before the Corona epidemic. Even the OECD's 2020 growth forecast for Turkey was increased from 1.6% to 3%. However, we are in an extraordinary situation due to the Corona epidemic. In summary; 2020 may be a lost year for not only Turkey, but the whole world. After the Corona epidemic, economies will try to compensate the losses of the first half of 2020 in the second half of the year.
Such risks are always present in business. What happens today is happening to everyone. In such periods, nobody should think differently. If necessary, employees also make sacrifices, but companies must make sure that they will support their employees till the end.
It is believed that 2021 will be the year of a "takeoff" in the global economic literature. Such a period may lead to the beginning of a controlled growth in Turkey, too, to compensate for the deferred growth in the economy.
8 billion TL investment plan
Although uncertainties are severe today, we asAkfen believethat the business world should take their pens in hand and start working on investment plans. Even in this period, we, as the Akfen Group, decisively look ahead. In 2017-18, with our inexhaustible energy, we invested TL 6.8 billion and created employment for 5,523 people, exceeding our targets for the period by 28.5%. Akfen Group is entering the period of 2020-2021 with another ambitious investment program. Our target in the two-year plan is to provide employment to 3,380 people with an investment of 8 billion 32 million TL.
As Akfen Group, we have determined that the biggest investment area will be renewable energy. We planned an energy investment of TL2.8 billion in 2020 and TL1.6 billion in 2021. These investments will increase our current installed capacity in renewable energy of 750 MW to 1,000 MW. When the target is reached, public offering or block sales may be considered.
An investment of more than TL1.5 billion is planned at Mersin International Port (MIP). Akfen's new business area, mining operations, will also see an investment of more than TL1 billion. Launched in March 2019, Acacia Mining caused us to ask ourselves the question “Why haven't we entered the mining sector before?” Kastamonu Gökırmak Copper Mine, which is an open-pit mining operation, is Turkey's largest and is among the top five globally. We are exporting all the copper produced. The investment cost is high but it will provide good returns.
We are planning to complete Tekirdağ City Hospital in 2020. Digital businesses are also under the lens of Akfen Group. We believe that the second generation will make such investments more successfully. We will start investments in this area.
After 2020 growth will be on Turkey's agenda again. Of course the deciding factors will be the length of time needed to heal the wounds of the outbreak, Turkey's local conditions and its relations with its neighbors. Although the future is still uncertain, once the war against Coronavirus is won and the war in the Middle East is over, Turkey will one more time be the star of the region.
As Akfen, in the coming period as in the past, we will be spending our energy on new investments.
Honorary President of Akfen Group