Two major Turkish banks, Vakifbank and Akbank are preparing to open representative offices or branches in northern Iraq, where 200 Turkish companies currently operate and annually, $2 billion worth of exports are conducted. Akbank and Vakifbank have reportedly started talks with Iraqi authorities.
Ziraat Bank, another Turkish bank, obtained the first permission to operate in Iraq last year, but it was unable to begin operating because it is a public bank and for security reasons. However, Ziraat Bank's initiative paved the way for other Turkish banks.
Turkish companies operating in the region said they are having problems in obtaining letters of guarantee, letters of credit and completing money transfers and they want Turkish banks to come to the region as soon as possible.
Banking activities in northern Iraq are conducted in jewelry and at exchange offices in Erbil, Dohuk, Suleymania, and Kerkuk.