Turkey is the only Islamic nation in Europe, and has been trying to join the European Union since the nineties. Its failure to do so has ended up working out in its favour as the country has enjoyed a booming economy in recent years. GDP was just $230 billion in 2002, but has since expanded to reach $770 billion last year.
Its economy grew at the second fastest rate in the world in 2011, and is expected to show healthy growth again this year, reaching $817 billion. According to OECD data, the Turkish economy will be the fastest growing in the block between 2011 and 2017, averaging annual growth of 5.7%.
However Turkey has a population of around 75 million, and does need to diversify its economy further. To this end the Turkish government has put in place a series of ambitious targets which it hopes to reach by 2023. One of these is to become one of the top ten economies in the world. It is currently ranked sixteenth in the world.
In addition it plans to increase GDP to $2 trillion, and to increase its exports to $500 billion annually. According to experts these goals, even though high, are achievable. Turkey is increasing its partnerships with countries within the GCC and MENA, one of which is the UAE.
Turkey is also growing in popularity as a holiday destination, and currently receives around 31.5 million visitors annually, 1.4 million of whom are from Arab countries. The number of Arab visitors is growing, and this is leading to greater investment from these countries.