Many Turkish brands, covering everything from ice cream to basic staples to clothes and household products, have come to dominate Iraq's grocery stores where shoppers choose goods based on price rather than brand identity.
At Maxi Mall, a popular inexpensive retail brand from Turkey that has sprouted up across Baghdad, shoppers can buy a T-shirt for as little as US$6 (Dh 22.03) and four pairs of socks for $4.
But its not just Turkey's food and retail companies that have taken the Iraqi market by storm. The country's hoteliers and contractors have helped to boost the country's trade exports to Iraq from $2.8 billion in 2007 to $8.3bn last year, according to figures published on the website of Turkey's economy ministry. Imports from Iraq totaled $2.5 billion in the same period.
It was Turkey's Rixos Hotels that was awarded the management contract for Baghdad's hotels at a recent Arab League summit in the city. The local staff was replaced with Turkish staff for the event and foreign delegates were feted with gold-encrusted dates and popular Turkish cuisine. "The Iraqis and Turks understand each other. We have the same culture," says Ugur Incescu, the corporate general manager of Rixos, which has also secured a permanent management contract for the Al Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.
"Turkey's people like to take risk quickly and their businessmen are very flexible."
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