LONDON, ENGLAND — A senior delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) led by President Sir Suma Chakrabarti visited Turkey Feb. 19-20. Discussions with senior government officials, members of the business community and civil society organizations focused on the EBRD’s investment priorities in the country.

In a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, Chakrabarti reinforced the EBRD’s strong commitment to supporting the Turkish economy and the country’s economic reforms.

“I am pleased that the EBRD’s relationship with Turkey is growing at a healthy pace, and opening a third office in Gaziantep is a good development,” said Babacan.

“We see growing demand for our finance in Turkey: from family-run micro enterprises in remote regions to large corporates competing on the global market as well as small municipalities seeking to improve people’s lives through better infrastructure,” Chakrabarti said. “In response to this demand the EBRD will step up its engagement even further.”

The EBRD started investing in Turkey in 2009. It currently operates from offices in Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep.

In just six years the bank has invested almost €5 billion in Turkey through more than 140 projects in infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance. It has also mobilized over €12 billion from other sources of financing. In 2014, Turkey became the leading recipient country of the EBRD with new investments worth €1.4 billion.

In Ankara, Chakrabarti also met representatives of civil society organizations.

Meanwhile, EBRD First Vice-President Phil Bennett met leading Turkish businesses and longstanding EBRD partners in Istanbul, including Akfen Holding, ?i?ecam Group, ??bank and Borsa Istanbul.

The visit also coincided with a change in the EBRD senior management team to be based in Istanbul, following the retirement of the country director Michael Davey.

Chakrabarti said he highly appreciated Davey’s successful work at the EBRD, spanning more than 20 years and 14 countries.

“On behalf of the EBRD I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mike Davey for his particularly strong contribution to the success of our bank. In the six years he spent in Turkey, Mike Davey built up our activities to such an extent that the country became the single largest recipient of EBRD investments in 2014. He also established our presence in three offices across Turkey,” Chakrabarti said. “I would also like to thank him for his dedication and commitment to the EBRD's mandate and for building up EBRD business, often in particularly challenging environments. We wish him all the very best for his future.”

Davey will be succeeded by Jean-Patrick Marquet, currently EBRD Director for Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure, who will take up the post as director for Turkey in Istanbul on March 16.

The EBRD has also created the position of managing director for Turkey and Central Asia and appointed Natalia Khanjenkova, previously managing director for Russia, to the new post. This is the first time that a managing director has been based in Istanbul, underscoring the importance of Turkey for the bank and the role of Istanbul as a hub for EBRD operations. Khanjenkova will assume her new position on April 1.