The number of Iranian-funded foreign companies in Turkey rose for the fifth consecutive month this year, according to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Today's Zaman reported.
A report issued by TOBB on Friday stated that 27 percent of foreign companies that were established in Turkey in May were Iranian-funded.
The report, which provides statistics of companies that were set up and closed down in May 2012, stated that 86 companies -- out of the 320 that were established with foreign partners last month -- are Iranian-funded. The report also stated that 431 Iranian-funded foreign companies had been established in Turkey in the first five months of the year. The next two foreign investors on the list were Germans, with 152 companies established this year, and Russians, with 85.
The Iranian firms in Turkey are mainly in the electricity, electronics, communications and construction sectors. According to the registry list for companies provided by the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO), more than half of the Iranian-funded companies in Turkey -- 1,200 to be exact -- are located in İstanbul. Currently, 25 percent of all foreign companies are based in İstanbul.
TOBB previously announced that 590 foreign companies had been financed by Iran in 2011, which was an increase of 41 percent compared to the previous year. This puts Iran on the top of the list of new foreign companies established in 2011, not only based on nominal figures but percentage-wise as well. As of Dec. 31, 2011, the number of companies funded by Iran totaled 2,140, with a quarter established in the last year alone.
TOBB also reported that Iran had topped the list in January with 63 new companies. However, this is not commensurate with the trade volume Iran maintains with Turkey. As of last year, trade volume between the two countries amounted to $16 billion, mostly from Iranian natural gas and oil proceeds. Turkey imports some 30 percent of its oil needs, or 200,000 barrels per day, from Iran, which represents over 7 percent of Iranian oil exports. Iran also meets a third of Turkey's natural gas demand.
In contrast, Germany, Turkey's largest commercial partner with $37 billion in non-energy trade, only established 36 companies in January.
"Some of these [Iranian] companies were established to procure goods and merchandise for the Iranian economy in clear violation of the sanctions. They use smugglers to get the merchandise across the border to Iran," a former senior executive of a Turkish company that has a multi-million dollar investment in Iran said.