Turkish Deputy PM Şimsek praises Islamic bank’s initiatives

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Two new initiatives by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will enable Turkey to have closer dialogue with emerging Islamic countries, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on Feb. 12.

Speaking at an event introducing the Engage Platform and Transformation Fund projects in the capital Ankara, Şimşek vowed that the government will do “whatever is necessary” to ensure the initiatives succeed.

“Such initiatives should be supported. We want the IDB to be successful as its targets are in line with our own,” he said.

Şimşek said in the coming period Turkey would focus on Africa and Asia, along with strengthening its ties with the EU, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

“There is a great advancement in Africa and Asia. We will concentrate on emerging countries both as a market and for collaboration, so today’s event is important for us,” he added.

Şimşek also called on oil-rich Islamic countries to put their money into emerging countries that have long-term promise, such as Turkey and Indonesia, rather than Western countries.

“Investments in those countries should be intensified. It’s possible to get a big share of the world market through cooperation with companies in emerging countries,” he said.

Saleh Jelassi, the IDB Group’s regional director in Turkey, said the two initiatives will help member countries “overcome development challenges” while promoting the use of science, technology, and innovation.

“Turkey has the highest number of researchers in absolute terms, the third-highest proportion of researchers, the third-highest proportion of GDP spent on R&D, and is the most prolific IDB member country in terms of scientific publications,” Jelassi said, citing the Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation.

He added that the IDB is “cooperating fully” with Ankara to “benefit from Turkey’s expertise and knowledge in scientific and technological development.”

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