By Gokhan Ergocun
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday Turkey would provide considerable support to entrepreneurs as "huge targets" needed "huge reforms".
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul, he mentioned that the new airport in Istanbul and Turkey's first indigenous car projects highlighted the country's strong sense of entrepreneurship.
"This airport was built by five entrepreneurs who were encouraged by the Turkish government," he said.
The airport, which is expected to open this year, has the potential to welcome 90 million passengers annually.
Following the second phase of construction, expected to be completed in 2023, this number will rise to 150-250 million, said Erdogan.
The airport's auction was won by a consortium of five contractors: Limak, Kolin, Cengiz, Mapa and Kalyon.
He touched on the indigenous car project which will be produced by another consortium -- Anadolu Group, BMC, Turkcell, Kiraca and Zorlu.
"The spirit of the entrepreneurship is not ordinary. We will able to produce our own planes like the indigenous car. Ideals come true with dreams," he said.
- Turkey invites entrepreneurs
Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci stressed that financing can always be found but to find entrepreneurs was the true challenge.
"Economy is a game of which the rules are changing day by day, and we can move on the road with research and development, and design centers," he stressed.
He added that through Turkey's new project-based incentive, 23 projects from 19 firms given 135 billion Turkish liras ($32.6 billion) .
Zeybekci added that new incetive-based organizations would be created until the end of the year in order to contribute to the reduction of Turkey's current deficit.
"We invite enterpreneurs from all around the world to invest in Turkey," he said.
Ali Sabanci, chairman of Pegasus Airlines, said entrepreneurship raised economic and social welfare.
"But entrepreneurship cannot work without an ecosystem that includes the public and private sectors," he added.
- Center of entrepreneurship
Several countries and cities compete to become the center of entrepreneurship and Istanbul has an opportunity to claim that distinction, he said.
"Istanbul has access to a huge market and people can reach the capitals of 59 countries in 4 hours or less," he underlined.
The Global Entrepreneurship Network's (GEN) annual four-day congress began on Monday, welcoming nearly 400 speakers from around the world, including academics, politicians, businesspeople, and representatives of global organizations such as the World Bank and the OECD.
The congress is hosted by the Economy Ministry, the Turkish Exporters Assembly, entrepreneurship associations Endeavor Turkey and Habitat.