It may not look like much now. But after $2.6 billion is plowed into a bare plot of ground in Atasehir over the next three years, the Istanbul suburb will be transformed into a sparkling ménage of high-rise buildings, a symbol of Turkey’s resumption of a position of power on the global commercial stage.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the plan, advanced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is an effort to create a one-square-mile “Wall Street of Istanbul” that will be known as IFC-Istanbul—the International Financial Center. Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party was reelected last year, sees Turkey as a growing center of economic and political power that will make its presence known in the Middle East and southeastern Europe.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar said in the report that once IFC-Istanbul is functioning, “Istanbul will assume its historical role as a global center of commerce.” The country’s financial industry has already seen substantial growth even as its economy as a whole expanded by 8.5% in 2011.
This year alone, Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan, Kuwait’s Burgan Bank SAK and OAO Sberbank of Russia all came to the city, either buying Turkish firms or opening their own offices.