SAF-HOLLAND’s investment in this new plant is also an investment in a growing market. Since the arrival of the new millennium, Turkey has become one of the most vital production centers for Europe’s commercial vehicle industry. First came the bus and coach manufacturers, whose final assembly was very labor intensive due to the different configurations. In the meantime, a growing number of heavy-duty commercial vehicles and their trailers are being manufactured in Turkey. In 2015, which was a record year, a total of 275,000 commercial vehicles and roughly 25,000 trailers left production plants. “The Turkish government has invested massively in infrastructure in the past ten years,” offered Azizoglu explaining his customers’ investment decisions. “From communication networks to highways, the entire country went through a wave of modernization.” Still, the favorable conditions, which include the direct support of the ministry of economy, were just one aspect. “Turkey is Europe’s bridge to the Middle East,” says Azizoglu. This statement is especially true for vehicle original equipment manufacturers who deliver from Turkey to the Arab peninsula – a region that experienced a construction boom until 2015 that boosted the demand for commercial vehicles. The Iranian market may have a greater role to play in the future. “Of course growth in Iran also depends on future political developments,” says Azizoglu. “The potential for recovery in this country, with more than 75 million inhabitants, is enormous.” This outlook is also reflected in the World Bank’s forecast for economic growth in Iran of 4.6% in 2017. The Iranian government’s five-year plan even shows a targeted annual growth rate of 8%. Turkey is also an international hub for the transportation industry. “The food produced in Turkey, for example, is distributed throughout the entire region,” explained Azizoglu. “And, of course, it needs to be transported – preferably by land.” Currently, however, trade is suffering because the war in Syria is blocking one of the most important routes. “It’s only a matter of time before this problem is solved,” says Azizoglu optimistically.