This year's EIB first forum will take place on 22 October in Istanbul and put the spotlight on investments that spur the development of an economy based on knowledge and innovation.
The Istanbul Forum will bring together a range of high-level speakers to discuss key aspects of strategic infrastructure investments, as well as the role of R&D investments in supporting a sustainable growth path. Keynote speakers will include Turkey's Minister of Finance Mehmet Şimşek, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle, EIB Vice-Presidents Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohan Munasinghe. Investing in Turkey for more than 45 years, the EIB is pleased to provide policymakers, sector experts and representatives of the financial arena with a platform for debate.
From 2004 to 2009 the EIB made available a total of EUR 10.3bn in loans to Turkey. In its activities, the Bank works closely with the EU and Turkish authorities to define investment priorities together. The EIB's activities are built on three pillars: lending in support of infrastructure, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the corporate sector. Going forward, investments in infrastructure, especially water and waste treatment as well as energy and R&D are key to supporting smart growth in Turkey.
Paving the way for EU accession - investing in infrastructure
In 2009, the Bank lent EUR 293m in support of the country's first high-speed railway between Ankara and Istanbul. This loan brought total EIB funding for this flagship project to EUR 850m to date. In 2009, the Bank also provided a total of EUR 460m in loans for energy projects including electricity distribution, energy efficiency and renewable energy. This includes a EUR 125m loan to upgrade the national electricity distribution networks.
Research and development for a sustainable future
Strengthening R&D is an important factor for Turkey's competitiveness and for securing high-wage, high-value-adding jobs for its rapidly growing young population. Development of a knowledge-based economy depends on the country's ability to innovate and bring researchers and entrepreneurs together. The EIB has already provided a first EUR 335m loan to the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK). This has contributed to integrating Turkey into the EU's research programmes. In order to further strengthen Turkey's R&D and innovation capacity, the EIB is working on a follow-up project that is expected to support the R&D programmes set up by TUBITAK as well as the research undertaken at the national research institutes.
Projects carried out by TUBITAK
Better control for hydropower
TUBITAK researchers helped to develop an improved control system for hydroelectric power plants, which reduces costs and increases the mean time between failures.
Technology for cleaner cars
TUBITAK supported the development of an inner-city and cargo-transportation vehicle that uses less fuel and therefore cuts costs as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Marine ecosystems in a changing environment
This scientific research project combines data synthesis, numerical simulation and targeted experimentation to gain knowledge about the effects of climate change and human impact, in order to better manage marine ecosystems.