ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- The international marble, natural stone products and technologies fair, Natural Stone 2004, was held at CNR EXPO in Istanbul from September 2 to 5. Held for the first time, the fair attracted 25,000 visitors, 1,500 of which were foreign purchasers, reports show organizers. The fair aimed not only to promote and increase the use of marble and natural stone in Turkey, but also to attract the attention of the companies increasing their use of marble in the neighboring countries.

The inauguration of the Natural Stone Fair, with the attendance of the state minister responsible for foreign trade, Mr. Kürsad Tüzmen; the minister of energy and natural resources, Mr. Hilmi Güler; and Turkish Exporters' Union (TIM) Chairman, Mr. Oguz Satıcı, is estimated as a very important step for the sector to reach a $1 million export rate of marble and natural stone.

Nearly 300 types of marble and other natural stone were exhibited at Natural Stone 2004, within the rapidly developing technological services of Turkey. After the great success of 2004, Natural Stone 2005 is scheduled to take place from September 1 to 4.