What a special time for Turkey. We have just learned that the Turkish economy was the fastest growing in the world in the first six months of this year. The AK Party recently won a roaring victory for its third term, indicating political stability, and with the exception of the current account and trade deficits the economy is in incredibly good shape all round -- as is the banking system.
But that is nothing special; no more than it is the culmination of recent growth and good performance. What is special is Turkey's rising popularity in the Arab World, which is fueling exceptional growth in tourism from Arab countries, many of which enjoy visa-free travel to Turkey. It is also fueling a surge in demand for Turkey property from wealthy and not-so wealthy Arab buyers.
Before World War II at the peak of its power, the Ottoman Empire reigned over the entire Arab World, mostly with fear and persecution (let's be honest).
But now as Turkey once again grows as a regional power, its growth is not being met with fear or resentment, but praise and jubilation for Turkey and its government. Not least because of the tough stance it has taken towards Israel for its deadly raid on the Turkish flotilla in international waters earlier this year. But it is also because Turkey has seemingly found the perfect model for merging Modernity and tradition, Islam and democracy.
Arab countries are some of the wealthiest in the world, but Arab tourists and property buyers at the private level have always tended to stick to other Arab countries, because they feel more at home in their own culture.
Because of the Arab Spring the choice of places to holiday and invest in property in Arab countries has been seriously thinned. Thus Arabs are coming to Turkey in their droves to shop, holiday and buy property. This is fuelling the tourism boom, the rapid economic expansion and growth in the property market, including prices and rents.
Of course Turkey is feeling similar effects because of the European sovereign debt crisis; buyers throughout Europe who would normally have bought in Spain, Italy, Greece or Cyprus are turning to Turkey because of the dire situation in all the above.
Russians are included in this, according to recent reports Russian buyers are now overtaking Brits as the dominant buyers in many regions. In fact, according to one report from agents in Marmaris, Brits are selling up en masse, and Russians are their main buyers. According to other reports Russians are also starting to overtake Brits as the dominant buyers of property in Alanya as well.