PARAMARIBO – Turkey could be a partner in the government’s housing plans. The Turkish state-owned company Toki is specialized in the speedy construction of cheap housing, intended for people who would otherwise not be able to own a house, Turkish Ambassador to Suriname Ersin Erçin tells de Ware Tijd. Erçin, who has his residence in Brazil, visited Suriname last week.
He has not discussed this topic with the government yet, however. Turkish enterprises are spreading their wings and their eyes are on Suriname too. Erçin says Toki is competing for a tender in Brazil to build houses for the ‘Minha casa, minha vida’ program, a big housing project by the Brazilian government, which wants 2 million houses built before 2014.
Erçin, who also represents his country in Brazil, announced that Vice President Ameerali will visit Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan in January to sign four treaties between the two countries and discuss strengthening trade relations. Turkish investors are eager to invest abroad, and Erçin sees good options for Turkish enterprises in Suriname. Turkey has been experiencing strong economic growth in recent years. “Turkish businesses have invested in the Middle East and Central Asia, but those markets are saturated now, and they are looking for new countries,” he says. The Ambassador claims cement producers, construction companies, textile factories, the oil industry and jewelers are interested. More than one hundred Turks are living in Suriname, “more than in Brasilia.” They work mostly in casinos, and this is a result of a ban on gambling companies Turkey introduced in 1996, the diplomat explains.
Turkey wants to use Suriname as a steppingstone to build ties with the Caribbean. “We do not have much experience with the Caribbean, but have been opening up to new parts of the world. Suriname is a strategic country,” Erçin adds.