OECD Territorial Reviews: Istanbul, Turkey




Across the OECD globalisation has opened doors for cities with great promise for free trade, open borders, labour mobility, technology transfer and electronic communication. Istanbul, like many other cities, has many initiatives underway to maximise these opportunities. Istanbul has established itself as the industrial, financial and logistics centre of the country, producing almost one-third of the national output and absorbing the bulk of foreign direct investment. And, on the international scale, Istanbul ranks among the fastest growing OECD metro-regions.

This review finds, however, that Istanbul faces challenges that could hamper its ambition to become a Eurasian hub for finance, logistics, culture and tourism, as well as its development in general. Its economy is changing from one driven by labour-intensive activities to one based on knowledge industries, while traditional and labour-intensive sectors (e.g. textiles and its supply chain) are shifting only gradually and slowly to other complementary industry segments. Constraints on human capital development and the informal sector have hindered productivity levels and increased income disparities. Over-migration is putting a burden on Istanbul’s transport, public infrastructure and housing, and earthquake risk management. The scale and variety of these challenges necessitates improving local public management and implementing a national strategy to reduce regional disparities and to limit migration flows towards the megalopolis.

The Istanbul review, part of a metropolitan series undertaken by the OECD Territorial Development Policy Committee, will employ the same assessment methodology used in Seoul, Mexico City, Helsinki, Stockholm, Milan, Athens, Vienna-Brastislava, Öresund, Melbourne and Montreal. The overall aim of these reviews is to identify and assess innovative policies for regional competitiveness and governance, providing recommendations to policy-makers involved in urban development.



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