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Turkish exports to OPEC countries see sharp rise in 2012

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Turkey's exports to members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) increased by 74 percent in 2012 in comparison to numbers from the previous year and hit nearly $38 billion, according to data from Turkey's statistics authority.

Exports to the 12 OPEC nations accounted for 25 percent of total exports, tripling the figure from the previous year the Anatolia news agency reported on Saturday, citing statistics from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat). Turkey exported $21.8 billion to OPEC countries in 2011, contributing to 8.3 percent of the country's total exports last year.

Among OPEC countries, Iraq claimed the biggest share of Turkish exports with $10.8 billion in goods and services, which was followed by Iran with $9.9 billion and by the United Arab Emirates with $8.1 billion. The list continued with Saudi Arabia at $3.6 billion, Libya with $2.1 billion and Algeria with $1.8 billion. Even by keeping gold sales worth $11.1 billion to Iran and the UAE out of the calculation, still there was a surplus of $6.5 billion.

According to the data, exports to the European Union went down to 38.8 percent in 2012 from 58 percent in 2011, standing at a value of $59.2 billion. OPEC countries also made $1.6 billion worth of investments in Turkey.

Professor Fatih Macit of the Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN) noted that OPEC countries have become an increasingly important market for Turkey in the past decade. "Considering the slowdown in the European economy, it is crucial for Turkey to seek new export markets like OPEC countries, which carry major potential for trade. These countries are becoming increasingly wealthy as petroleum prices increase, contributing to higher savings and in turn increasing purchasing power," said Macit. "Turkey needs to take advantage of this opportunity."

Original article from Today's Zaman