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The Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) is being implemented in the Southeastern Anatolia Region which lies to the south of the Eastern Taurus Mountains. The region is a vast area composed mainly of plains and borders on Iraq in the southeast and Syria in the south. The project area consists of the provinces of Sanliurfa, Mardin, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Siirt, Batman and Sirnak and covers 75,256 square kilometers accounting for 9,7 percent of the nations territory. Its population was 5.274.644 in 1990, or 9.3 percent of the total national population.

The area was one of the first to be settled in known history, and was part of the region called the "Fertile Crescent." Fertile soil and favourable climatic conditions encouraged agriculture and civilizations thrived. However, in modern times, the region lost its previous glory. It lapsed into relative backwardness due to its unfavourable location with respect to markets and supply of material inputs and due to the scarcity of rainfall which made the practice of modern agriculture difficult and risky. To rectify the situation, GAP was started with the intent of increasing agricultural production and exploiting the hydro-power potential.

GAP is the largest project ever attempted in Turkey, and one of the largest in world. Its total cost is estimated to be about 26 billion US Dollars.

As an integrated project, GAP comprises dams, power plants, irrigation schemes, agriculture, transportation, industry, education, health and urban and rural infrastructure.

Under 13 subprojects, the GAP involves 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power plants on the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers. Some of these structures and facilities have already been built, and some are under construction. Upon completion of the project nearly 1.7 million hectares of land will be irrigated and 27 billion Kwhs of electricity will be generated annually with an installed capacity of 7.500 MWs.

Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates was completed in 1990 and its reservoir is capable of holding 48.5 billion cubic meters of water. The dam ranks as the 9th largest in the world in terms of volume of the embankment and 22nd largest in terms of reservoir capacity. Ataturk Hydroelectric Power Plant has an installed capacity of 2.400 MW and will annually generate 8.900 Gwh of electricity. The power plant became fully operational in December, 1993.


Water from the Ataturk Dam reservoir will be diverted to the plains of upper Mesopotamia via the Sanliurfa Tunnels system which consists of two parallel tunnels each 26.4 kms long and 7.62 meters in diameter. These are the longest tunnels in the world built for irrigation purposes. One of the tunnels completed in 1995 and the other will be completed in 1996. Irrigation started in the Harran Plain in the spring of 1995.

GAP will create opportunities for diversifying the crop pattern and increasing the quantity of agricultural production of the region. It will be possible to obtain 2-3 crops each year under irrigated conditions rather than just one as is the case presently. New crops like soya-beans will be introduced and production of some crops will increase appreciably. For example, by the early 2000s, cotton production in the region is expected to exceed what the whole country produces today.

Investment areas which have the greatest potential in the region are as follows:
- Frozen foods
- Vegetable oils
- Packing and storage facilities
- Dry fruits processing
- Integrated livestock production (slaughtering, meat, milk processing)
- Integrated poultry production
- Cotton yarn
- Cotton clothing
- Woolen yarn
- Leather industries
- Clothing industries
- Furniture establishments
- Packaging materials (wooden, polypropylene and others)
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Fertilizers
- Construction materials (concrete blocks/ready made concrete products, tiles and bricks, cement pipes)
- Printing and publishing
- Textile machinery
- Agricultural machinery and equipment
- Nurseries for apricots, grapes and peaches
- Seed production farms for vegetables and food legumes
- Export oriented vegetables production
- Greenhouse establishment
- Vegetable seeding
- Vegetable and fruit canning and processing
- Wheat flour, macaroni, semolina

The policy of the government is to promote private investments and increase the role of the private sector in the region's industrialization process. Foreign capital is very much welcome. There are opportunities for foreign capital in dam, power plant, motorway and railway construction on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. Urbanization, population increase, and the desire for better housing as incomes rise, will also give impetus to the construction sector.

The most promising investment areas in the region are agro-industries and agricultural input producing industries. The region is expected to be a major exporter of agro-products to the other regions of the country and abroad. This will create opportunities for investment in storing, sorting and packaging facilities and transportation. It is expected that especially textiles and food processing will attract large amounts of capital from outside the region.

The point of contact for getting more information about the GAP, and investment possibilities in the region is the GAP Regional Development Administration which is responsible for planning, programming and coordinating the regional development efforts. The Administration's headquarters is in Ankara and its regional directorate is in Sanliurfa.

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