Relations between Croatia and Turkey are friendly and there are possibilities to further strengthen economic cooperation, in particular in tourism, energy, agriculture, banking and modern technologies, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and her Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the Croatian-Turkish Economic Forum in Zagreb on Wednesday.

The event attracted 600 participants.

"Such a large number of companies attending the forum confirms that the interest in cooperation is huge," Grabar-Kitarovic said, adding that this was evidence of good relations between the two countries.

"The level of development of the Turkish economy, its size and structure, almost oblige us to strengthen our economic ties. On the other hand, the Croatian economy and its quality in terms of the labour force, stable development and security, the excellent infrastructure that connects Europe's west and east, north and south, offer excellent opportunities for business development and growth," the Croatian president said.

 She said that a lot could still be done to boost economic cooperation, calling on Turkish companies to invest in Croatia. As possible areas of cooperation, she cited tourism, agriculture, energy, banking and modern technologies.

"It is up to politicians to encourage cooperation and open the door to entrepreneurs, and it is up to you, entrepreneurs, to walk through that door," Grabar-Kitarovic said, stressing that she was confident that the economic cooperation between the two countries had a bright future.

President Erdogan said the economic cooperation between Croatia and Turkey was lagging behind their political relations and that the two countries were set to enhance trade to a billion dollars annually.

Erdogan sees tourism, energy, and the financial and agricultural sectors as areas where economic cooperation could be stepped up, and he called on politicians to work on removing bureaucratic barriers so as to make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business.

"Let us work on removing bureaucratic barriers. Politicians are successful when they distance themselves from the bureaucratic oligarchy," Erdogan said at the economic forum.

The Turkish president does not think that the investment potential has been used sufficiently. "I think that we will soon triple our investments in the Croatian tourism sector; privatisation projects worth 500 million dollars are under way in Croatia and those projects are of interest to us. Of particular importance are ecological agriculture, irrigation projects, and Croatia's great advantages are fertile land, good infrastructure, a well educated labour force and the country's proximity to Europe," the Turkish head of state underscored.

Turkey invested 16 billion dollars abroad in 2015, according to Erdogan.

Erdogan called on Turkish companies to continue investing in Croatia and promised that Turkey would facilitate efforts of Croatian companies to do business in Turkey.

The forum, which was held as part of Erdogan's two-day visit to Zagreb, brought together around 150 entrepreneurs from Turkey and 450 from Croatia.

Addressing the event, Croatia's Economy Minister Tomislav Panenic described the bilateral relations as good and friendly, adding that there was much room for improvement of economic cooperation.

Panenic told Turkish investors that Croatia was a good destination for doing business.

The head of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Luka Burilovic, joined in calls for increasing trade between the two countries, and in that context mentioned car parts production, textile manufacturing, food production, tourism and energy sectors as areas where cooperation might be enhanced.

According to Croatian National Bank (HNB) statistics, from 1993 to Q3 2015 Turkish investments in Croatia totalled 212 million euros. Most of those investments were made in the construction and wholesale trade sectors as well as in the hotel and restaurant industry and the financial sector.

In 2015, the Croatia-Turkey trade came to USD 348.8 million, with Turkey's exports to Croatia totalling USD 244.4 million and Croatia's exports to that country amounting to 104.4 million dollars.

Croatia mostly exported to Turkey petroleum products and artificial fertilisers, while it imported from Turkey monitors, TV sets and other home appliances as well as cables and textile.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.