Keynote Address Of Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz At The “turkey-uk Business Forum"
Keynote address of Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz at the
“Turkey-UK Business Forum"
19 April 2012
My Lord Mayor,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a privilege for me to address you at the “Turkey-UK Business Forum” organised by the Commercial section of our Embassy, Turkish British Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Business Network. I see this Forum as another significant example of the utmost importance we attribute to strengthening our economic and commercial relations with the United Kingdom.
Let me express my sincere appreciation for each of these institutions in promoting bilateral trade, investment and joint ventures between Turkey and the United Kingdom. In fact, together with the “UKTI Turkey” and “London Office of the Turkish Investment Agency”, they play a major role in the development of economic and commercial relations between our countries. Thanks to their hard work, annual trade volume between Turkey and the UK reached 14 billion Dollars in 2011 despite the global economic and financial crisis. I am confident that we will reach our common target of doubling the trade volume until 2015 as set out by the two Prime Ministers in 2010.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Turkey and the UK enjoy strong multi-dimensional relations based on deep-rooted historical ties. Today, our relations are flourishing in almost every field. Close economic and commercial ties between our countries represent an important aspect of this relationship. The UK is the second largest investor in Turkey. More than 2.300 British firms, including many major companies, have made investments worth of 4.1 billion Dollars in Turkey.
Likewise, Turkey has a strong and active presence in Britain. There are more than 3.000 Turkish students attending UK universities; the Turkish community in Britain is approaching 400.000 people. Almost half a billion pounds have been invested by Turkish companies in the UK. This clearly resonates well with the trend of sustained growth of the Turkish economy.
There is mutual political will to further strengthen economic and commercial relations. To this end we have established a network of well-functioning mechanisms.
Turkey-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) was formed in 2008 and meets annually at ministerial level. The fourth JETCO meeting will be held in London this autumn under the Chairmanships of Minister for Economy Zafer Çağlayan and Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Green.
Prime Ministers agreed in 2010 to invite Turkish and British business leaders to set up a "CEO Forum" to support the two governments in identifying new areas and sectors to further boost relations. The first meeting of the CEO Forum was held in March 2011 during Prime Minister Erdoğan’s visit to the UK and the second meeting was held within the framework of President Gül's State Visit last November.
JETCO and CEO Forum provide an excellent working atmosphere where bilateral business prospects and contacts can be further extended and built upon.
What’s more, a “Knowledge Partnership” was signed during Business Secretary Vince Cable’s visit to Turkey last September to encourage co-operation between Turkish and UK universities, researchers and industry. It would focus its work on links between industry and higher education in the energy, health, and information and communications technology sectors.
I believe that with this Partnership Agreement our companies will learn from one another to ensure that we are both well equipped to face the technological developments of the twenty first century.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Turkey has taken important steps for developing its financial sector. We strongly believe that Istanbul has the potential to be a truly global financial centre. For this, we can learn a lot from the City, as London remains the single most internationally focused financial market place in the world. In this regard, we appreciate the support of the Lord Mayor for our bid to develop Istanbul into a financial centre. The Lord Mayor, in your visit to Turkey on January 2012 – your first overseas business visit – you reinforced the City of London’s commitment to assist with this initiative.
I believe that in the present demanding economic circumstances, building stronger trade links could help pave the way for economic stimulus and generate wealth both in Turkey and in the UK. Given our common goals, mutual interests and shared ideals, we must cherish our relationship and seize every opportunity to take it forward.
Before concluding, let me express where Turkey wishes to head for from where she stands. By all means, Turkey has passed the stress test in the last global turmoil and could register herself as one of the leading economies in the world. In a global environment where many countries registered either little or no growth, Turkey grew 8.5 percent last year, second after China. We are in full conviction that having been one of those countries that could show strong resilience in the global economic and financial crisis, Turkey will continue on her path stronger to become one of the top 10 economies in the world by 2023.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I find all these quite striking indeed and have serious difficulty in reconciling such facts and figures with Turkey’s still pending membership in the EU. I have the impression that the sustainable success of the Turkish economy depends on its growing integration with the EU. Equally, the success of the EU’s efforts to give a new impetus to the ailing European economies as well as finding a remedy to the current crisis also require growing integration with Turkey.
Therefore, I believe events such as this one which so successfully bring together the Turkish and the UK businessmen will also become additional platforms where Turkey’s EU membership will be significantly promoted and supported.
With this conviction, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the organisers and success to all the participants in their endeavours.
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