High Austrian activity in ‘business-friendly’ Turkey

Around 150 Austrian companies are currently doing business in Turkey, according to the Austrian Trade Commissioner in Istanbul.Marco Garcia said today (Fri) major companies like oil and gas firm OMV, Bank Austria (BA) and electricity provider Verbund have been active in the country.He added Austria was currently the eighth biggest investor in Turkey which, according to Garcia “offers business-friendly policies, safe legal structures and a booming stock market.”Garcia also stressed Turkey did comparably well during the recent economic crisis, adding that not a single bank has come into difficulties.His announcements come after Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger met with Turkish political leaders during a three-day state visit to the country.Turks are the third-biggest group of foreigners living in Austria with 183,000 behind Germans (213,000) and people from Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro with 207,000.Speaking about the Turkish community in Austria, Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed: “All Turks living in Austria must be able to speak German.”Spindelegger pointed out he appreciated that the European Union (EU) and Turkey have been holding talks about the country’s possible accession. The Austrian foreign minister said these negotiations were “open-ended”, adding that Austria may hold a referendum on the issue.Many political decision-makers across Europe have shown growing hesitation on speaking out in favour of Turkey joining the EU, while the number of those backing a so-called privileged partnership is rising.Analysts have meanwhile pointed out that Turkey has been showing increased interest in engaging stronger in the Middle East instead of focusing on becoming a member of the EU.The country seems to be resolute in its changed priorities following developments during the Euro crisis earlier this year when EU leaders openly signalled disagreement on how to handle the problem.