Although Istanbul currently has a reputation for being a historical centre, it is strategically located geographically, and there are signs that it could be set to become an international financial centre. There are several factors as to why experts think this could happen. Firstly there around 13 million people living in the city, and the median age of the Turkish population is just 29 which is incredibly young in comparison with most European countries.
Istanbul is the 45th largest economy in the world, and nearly half of all exports and imports are conducted through the city, while nearly half of Turkish domestic output is produced there. There are 48 banks in the country, and most have their headquarters in Istanbul.
Istanbul Ataturk airport is the eighth busiest airport in Europe. Just two years ago the city was the European Capital of Culture, and every year it hosts more international gatherings.
In 2010 and 2011 the Turkish economy grew by 8.9% and 8.5% respectively, and the debt to income ratio is less than 40%. In comparison with the world economy, Turkey has performed very strongly in recent years, and the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) is becoming far more active, and recently created an alliance with the national regulator, targeting more blue chip companies for public listing.
The Ministry of Economy is also doing its bit to help foreign trade policy, and government members and Turkish entrepreneurs are constantly investigating new business opportunities in other countries. There is little doubt Turkey is committed to becoming a financial centre, and Istanbul is at the heart of this commitment.