Kuwait-Turkish relations are on a strong footing and would continue to grow and flourish in the coming years, revealed His Excellency Abdulla Al-Duwaikh, the Ambassador of Kuwait to Turkey in an interview to The Times.
Pointing to the growing Kuwaiti-Turkish relations, the ambassador said, the visit of His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait to Turkey towards the end of this year will further strengthen the deep rooted ties between the two nations.
“Bilateral relations between our two countries are in constant evolution and modernization. These relations have been strengthened through the strong and cordial relations between the leadership of our two countries,” Ambassador Al-Duwaikh noted.
The envoy went on to point out that the recent visit to Kuwait by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was proof of the depth of strong relations between the two countries. Noting that during the visit 35 bilateral agreements were signed between the two countries, the ambassador clarified that Kuwaitis are among the major investors in the Turkish economy.
He added that this investment did not arise from a nowhere and was the result of the trust that Kuwaiti investors had in the Turkish economy.
On the growing trend of tourism from Kuwait to Turkey the ambassador said that Kuwaitis visiting Turkey would soon be afforded visa on arrival status. H.E. Al-Duwaikh hoped that the agreement of cancelling visa requirements for diplomatic passport holders will soon be followed by the decision to do the same for ordinary passport holders as well.
Listing the stages through which the facilitation process of obtaining entry visas for Kuwaitis to Turkey has progressed, the ambassador said, “We have come a long way in this area. In the beginning the process of obtaining visa was not easy but now it has become just a formality and can be obtained online. We are currently in the executive part of this process and I look forward to bringing the good news to our citizens soon.”
Highlighting the growing number of Kuwaiti tourists to Turkey, the envoy said, “In 2004, the number of Kuwaiti tourists to Turkey did not exceed 4,000; last year that number was 135,000. This reflects the conviction on the part of Kuwaiti tourists that Turkey has all the requisites needed to fulfill their desires.”
Elaborating on Kuwaiti investments in Turkey, the envoy said “We have two types of investment, the first is through the Kuwait Investment Authority and the other is through private sector. Kuwaiti investments are distinct from the rest of the investment in being direct and addressing the desires of Turkish and Kuwaiti citizens. This is represented by their presence in the service and the banking sector. Here, in Turkey, we have 335 branches of Kuwait Finance House, which is called here as Kuwait Turk Bank, and we hope to employ Kuwaiti personnel in these branches to open a space for the Kuwaiti citizen to contribute to the investment.
In addition to the Al Shaya Group, a number of Kuwaiti institutions and companies are represented in Turkey and they all work together in supporting the Turkish economy, he pointed out.
Drawing attention to some of the challenges previously faced by Kuwaiti investors in Turkey, the ambassador said, “There are so many Kuwaiti investors looking to invest in Turkey, however, one of the main challenges they faced was with regard to buying private residential property. Three years ago, the government almost completely removed restriction to owning private property and granted legal facilities to Kuwaiti tourists and investors. This helped to facilitate an increased turnout of Kuwaiti tourists and investors in Turkey.”
However, the ambassador cautioned that while there were Turkish property exhibitions being held in Kuwait and elsewhere, before buying any property, potential buyers and investors had to do due diligence and be aware of all legal aspects pertaining to their intended purchase. In this regard, the ambassador noted that the Kuwaiti embassy in Turkey was always ready to help.
Appealing to Turkish companies, Al-Duwaikh said, “We would like to invite you to be present in Kuwait through investments and participation in Kuwait's development plan, as Kuwait is on the verge of a transformation in all fields. We have over 35 joint agreements with Turkey, including on health, judiciary and various other areas, which can be utilized by Turkish companies.”
Regarding investments by Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) in Turkey, the ambassador noted, “KIA is represented in Jawaher Mall, which is one of the mega-malls in Istanbul, as well as a contributor to banks and other financial institutions in Turkey. “We hope that the Turkish side will include us in the opportunities that Kuwait can benefit from, he concluded.
By Reaven D’Souza