"Turkey does not just have significance in terms of accessing former Soviet republics. The strategic importance of Turkey has increased due to the Arab Spring. People say they take Turkey as an example in Tunis and Egypt. Balkans is another region where strategic cooperation is possible," said Antonio Poaletti, the vice president of Union Camere (the Union of Italian Chambers), in his speech at the forum's first meeting.
The meeting brought together 160 million Italian businesses, 23 associations and over 360 participants, which has now broken into business to business meetings between Turkish and Italian firms over the next 2 days.
It is a great time for Turkey, which officially became the fastest growing economy in Europe, as unlike the past where Turkey required assistance, more and more countries are now coming to maximise their benefit from Turkey.
Last year Britain held a similar event, as both British and Italian firms share a desire to tap into emerging markets to combat stagnant growth at home and in Europe. Only a fraction of Italy's five million enterprises export their goods, and increasing exports would be massively beneficial in turning the economy around.
"We are looking into the new investment scheme and how strategic industries can take benefit of it," said the Economic Development Under-secretary Massimo Vari, according to Anatolia news agency.
Bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Italy hit $21 billion last year, with Italy Turkey's 4th largest trade partner.
"Turkic countries, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Middle Eastern and North African countries are in the right addresses to collaborate," said Zeynep Bodur Okyay, the head of the Turkish-Italian Business Council.