Turkish economy minister caught in investment gaffe

Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi told Saudi investors on Wednesday that Turkey would spend more than any other country in the world in its transport and health sectors – a claim that Twitter users were able to debunk with a simple internet search.

"No country in the world will invest $150 billion alone in the transport sector over the next 10 years. No country in the world will invest more than $100 billion in its health-related transformation over the next decade alone,” Zeybekçi told the Turkey-Saudi Arabia Business and Investment Forum in Istanbul.

Communications professional Can Okar decided to fact check the claim:

“China planned to spend $376 billion this year alone on transport. India is spending around $137 billion on railways alone and that is up to 2020. Even the UK will spend over $80 billion up to 2021,” he wrote.

Marketing professor Steven Seggie said Zeybekçi was not doing Turkey any favours:

“In the days of the Internet when this can be shown to be false (other countries are spending as much or more), just state that you are doing the investments. Don't make claims that have no basis in fact, it's embarrassing.”

This was not the only enticing statistic that Zeybekçi presented potential investors.

“No country in the world will be able to double its current energy consumption in the next 10 years,” he said.

Although that remains to be seen, it might be an easier target for Somalia, whose people consume a few dozen kilowatt-hours of electricity each per year, than Turkey, where consumption is roughly a hundred times that amount.