Istanbul 'can become global finance hub'

Turkey's commercial capital has been promoted in the "Mega Cities & Financial Capitals" panel by senior economists.

Turkey’s finance minister has said the country aims to be among the top-three performing economies in Europe within a decade.

Mehmet Simsek was speaking alongside leading figures from Turkey's economy on Friday on a panel covering Istanbul's potential to become a finance hub.

Simsek, chairman of Central Bank Erdem Basci and chairman of Istanbul Stock Exchange Ibrahim Turan, were attending the Future Cities Forum: 'Mega Cities & Financial Capitals.'

Minister Simsek set the bar for Turkey's economy to rise into the top three in Europe and top ten in the world in the next few decades.

Turkey’s growth was 4.3% in the first quarter of this year, above expectations, and signaled optimism despite struggling months before the March 30 elections. 

Turkey's finance head praised the country’s solid banking system, which came through 2009's financial crisis in Europe without taking any bailouts from the state.

Simsek stressed the importance of the strength in the banking system and said their profitability should not be perceived negatively, responding to criticism over the banking sector's high profit rates. 

Simsek said Istanbul was ranked as the 47th biggest financial center globally as of March this year after climbing up from the bottom of the list when the incumbent government took power. 

The general manager of Turkey's stock exchange, Borsa Istanbul, said the financial capital’s geographical location was very promising for becoming a regional and global financial hub. 

Istanbul's first goal should be to become a leading finance center in the region, said Ibrahim Turan and it has the capacity and capital to achieve.

Turan said Istanbul is the eighth most liquid emerging market in the world, enabling investors to access a great potential of capital and liquidity. 

Turkey has Asian growth with the European regulations said Turan, describing it is a unique combination of opportunities for financial investors. 

- Transparency of Central Bank

Erdem Basci talked about the central bank, aiming to clarify doubts over the institution’s independence recently. 

Basci said the criticisms over monetary policies were normal and contributed to the transparency of the bank. "We hear and listen to everybody," said Basci. Transparency in Turkey in this sense is unique, according to the chairman.

Basci described the mutual criticisms as a healthy process rather than a problem. 

Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had criticized the central bank's policies over interest rates and last month urged lower rates.