Doğu Marmara Kalkınma Ajansı (MARKA) - East Marmara Development Agency (EMDA)
MARKA is a typical Regional Development Agency (RDA), one of 26 established all across Turkey, responsible for East Marmara Region (comprising five provinces, which are Kocaeli, Sakarya, Düzce, Bolu and Yalova) on the northwest of Turkey. MARKA is a sui generis public body, created by the Government Directive of July 2009 within the framework Law Nr. 5449. Its ExCom is made up of 20 high-ranking local administrators from East Marmara provinces, i.e. governors, mayors, chairmen of provincial councils and presidents of chambers of commerce and industry. Its Board of Development Stakeholders contain one representative from each of 100 stakeholders based in East Marmara with either public or non-governmental status. MARKA’s headquarters is based in Kocaeli and in order to provide a ubiquitous service, maintains Investment Support Offices in all 5 provinces that makes up East Marmara.
MARKA, with a staff over 40 people, carries out mainly four core functions, i.e. leveraging local governance by promoting interactivity among local stakeholders, conducting regional planning in concert with provincial and national plans, funding promising projects in line with regional priorities outlined in regional plans as well as investment promotion (mainly inward). To meet these objectives MARKA works in close collaboration with its regional partners and other RDAs through networks as well as with central government.
MARKA is very active in EU & International relations and vigorously strives to promote those of Regional stakeholders. To this end, MARKA has established an active Region-wide communication network among contact points from public and local authorities, universities, chambers of commerce and industry, and technoparks for raising awareness, providing information on EU policies, initiatives and calls for projects, and circulating partner searches. MARKA is a full member of European Association of Regional Development Agencies (EURADA) and has engaged in official bilateral partnership with Sarajevo Economic Regional Development Agency (SERDA), and initiated another partnership with UNDP to promote local governance and empower city councils. Despite being a fairly young organization, since its inception MARKA has been taking part in a number of significant projects funded under EU programmes including FP7 Regions of Knowledge, CIP ICT-PSP, LLP and IPA. MARKA’s priorities for EU and international affairs:
Investment promotion and business retention
Enhancing and flourishing clusters with strong and empowered cluster managements
Capacity building in regional public and local authorities
Supporting entrepreneurship and regional SMEs
Promoting eco-tourism and thermal tourism by attracting large-sized investment
East Marmara Region
East Marmara is a NUTS-2 Region on the north–west of Turkey, made up of 5 provinces (Kocaeli, Sakarya, Duzce, Bolu and Yalova); and it is literally a hub connecting Turkey’s three major metropolises, İstanbul, Ankara and Bursa. The Region is distinguished with its high accessibility by every mode of transportation and with Turkey’s largest port area as well as its exceptional green habitat and hot springs. It stretches over an area of 20,272 km2 (nearly 2.5% of total area of Turkey). With has a population of approximately 3.31 million people (nearly 4.4% of Turkish population), East Marmara generates 14% of total Turkish tax revenues and accounts for 8% of Turkish GDP. East Marmara comes the second in Turkey regarding per capita Gross Value Added (GVA). There are some 84.7 thousand firms registered in East Marmara provinces as of May 2011. 620 of them (as of Dec. 31, 2011) are foreign-stock companies. It is also a home for a large number of world-wide renowned companies operating in various sectors. During 2008-2011, 138 incentive certificates were issued to medium and large scale foreign investments to East Marmara corresponding to a total fixed capital investment of US$ 5.1 billion. During the same period 808 incentive certificates were issued to both foreign and domestic investments of medium and large scale that is worth US$ 10.84 billion fixed capital investment in total.