Keynote address of Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz at the “Turkey’s Promotion Day"

Ünal Çeviköz 18.05.2012
Keynote address of Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz at the “Turkey’s Promotion Day"
(18 May 2012, Leicester)

Honourable Member of the Parliament,

Lord Mayor,


Distinguished members of the British and Turkish Business Community,

It is a privilege for me to address you at the “Turkey’s Promotion Day” sponsored by the Turkish Airlines, the Leicestershire Asian Business Association and the Birmingham Airport. This event is another significant example of the utmost importance we attribute to strengthening our economic and commercial relations with the United Kingdom.

As the Eastern and Western international gateways into Europe, Turkey and the UK share several areas of common strategic interest. Our economic and commercial ties are particularly crucial and I believe this event will help to facilitate the two-way flow of trade and investment that will deliver jobs and growth in both countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The historic and strong bonds between Turkey and the United Kingdom go back many centuries. We have a long concerted history, an entrenched state experience and a common vision for the future. As two strategic partners now, our relations are flourishing in almost every field. We have developed close and effective cooperation in a wide range of areas as well as on major regional and international issues. Britain’s resolute and staunch support for Turkey’s EU membership is a further testament to the strategic vision we share for the good of our people and of the world at large.

Economic and commercial ties between Turkey and the UK represent an important aspect of our bilateral relations. There is a steady increase in our bilateral trade. Despite the global economic crisis, annual trade volume between our countries reached 12 billion US Dollars in 2010 and 14 billion Dollars in 2011. The UK is Turkey’s 3rd largest partner in exports and 11th largest partner in imports. However, the potential that we have is much greater, and we are committed to move forward towards the common goal of doubling our trade volume within the next five years.

British companies are among the top investors in Turkey. In fact the UK is the second largest investor in our country. There are almost 2,400 British companies in Turkey and they have invested billions of pounds within the past decade. One such shining example is “HSBC”. The bank has successfully ridden the wave of economic growth in Turkey. As of today, it has registered a tenfold increase in its assets following the acquisition of a local bank in 2001. Equally, “Vodafone Turkey” has doubled its subscribers, having reached 18 million in 2011, up from approximately 9 million in 2005 when it acquired a local GSM operator. This made “Vodafone Turkey” the fastest growing unit within Vodafone Europe.

May I also congratulate Pall-Ex, UK’s number one paletised freight distributor network, for their ambitious investment in Turkey. I believe, Hilary, your investment will attract more British Dragons to our country!

As a matter of fact Turkey offers tremendous opportunities for the British firms. Under UKTI's five-year strategy for 2011-15, Turkey is one of the agency's 20 priority markets. The CBI has designated Turkey as a priority market for increasing UK exports and attracting inward investment to the UK. The British firms are extremely enthusiastic in investing in Turkey for a very good reason. Over the past decade the economic performance of Turkey has been a real success. Turkey had been able to weather the international financial and economic crisis since 2008, with continued growth being driven to a great extent by domestic demand. Today, we have an economy with strong public finances, sustainable debt dynamics, a sound banking system, functional credit markets and able monetary transmission mechanisms.

In a global environment where many countries registered either little or no growth, Turkey grew 8.5 percent in 2011, posting the second biggest growth rate in the world after China. Turkey attracted a record of 110 billion Dollars of FDI in the last nine years. The year 2011 yielded increasingly positive results for Turkey in terms of FDI. A total of 15.7 billion Dollars of foreign direct investment flowed into Turkey last year, representing a 74 percent increase when compared to 2010.

What’s more, Turkish companies have become major players in the global market place. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Europe depend on Turkish business. Turkish firms already employ more than 700 thousand people across Europe. One in four of the largest companies in the Middle East and North Africa are Turkish and 65 percent of industrial exports from the MENA region originate from Turkey.

In parallel with the outstanding developments in the Turkish economy, GDP reached almost 1 trillion Dollars and per capita income has soared to 10 thousand Dollars. The strong performance of the Turkish economy has also boosted foreign trade, while exports hit 135 billion Dollars in 2011. We had a foreign trade volume of over 375 billion Dollars last year. With industrial goods amounting to over 90 percent of its exports Turkey is the seventh largest trade partner of the European Union.

One of Turkey’s biggest assets is our educated, young and dynamic human capital. The average age is 29 in Turkey whereas it is 42 in EU countries.

Turkey has also become a powerhouse in manufacturing. Turkey is the world’s 10th biggest steel producer and ranked 2nd when compared to the 27 EU countries. Turkey is the 16th largest automotive manufacturer worldwide and the leading maker of commercial vehicles in Europe, producing more than 1 million motor vehicles each year. Furthermore, it is the top TV manufacturer in Europe. Our Vestel and BEKO brands account for over half of all TV sets manufactured in Europe. We are proud of the fact that one in every 6 electrical household appliances in Europe bears the seal of “Made in Turkey”. Actually, BEKO has become the largest company for refrigerators and cooking appliances in the UK market.

Turkey is also transforming herself to a knowledge based economy. The Turkish “software” market recorded 100 percent growth rate in recent years and reached the level of 2 billion Dollars as of 2009. Mobile phone subscriptions reached almost 65 million whereas the number of broadband Internet users is 50 million.

In sum, significant improvements in such a short period of time have registered Turkey as the 16th largest economy in the world and the 6th largest economy in Europe.

However, this positive outlook did not make us overconfident. On the contrary, our economic team has been taking timely decisions to overcome the risks, including high current account deficit.

Dear Guests,

Sound and consistent figures have been encouraging experts and international institutions to make confident forecasts on the future of the Turkish economy:

•According to the OECD, Turkey is expected to be the fastest growing economy among their members during 2011-2017, with an annual average growth rate of 6.7 percent.
•The most recent IMF report for Turkey predicts that the country will attract more than 111 billion Dollars of FDI in the next five years.
•A projection by the Economist proposes an even higher figure, with a forecast of 114 billion Dollars of FDI for the same period.
•Impressed by Turkey’s economic performance, global investor confidence in Turkey has also been increasing in the last decade. A recent survey among top executive management of multinational companies ranks Turkey as the 13th most secure and attractive FDI destination in the world in 2012.

Dear guests,

We have set a number of ambitious goals for 2023, the year when Turkey will reach the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic. Accordingly our goals for the year 2023 are;

- Take place among the top 10 economies in the world.
- Achieve a gross domestic product of 2 trillion Dollars.
- Raise per capita income to 25 thousand Dollars.
- Increase annual Turkish exports to 500 billion Dollars.
- Reach to a foreign trade volume of 1 trillion Dollars.
- Increase employment rate by 10 points.
- Reduce unemployment rate to 5 percent.
- Make Turkey the fifth largest tourist destination in the world.

As for the financial sector, we strongly believe that Istanbul has the potential to be a truly global financial centre. The Turkish government’s “Istanbul International Finance Center” project offers international companies a chance to run their regional financial operations through the city. Thanks to diverse incentives, a skilled workforce, and its world-renowned status as a truly global, cosmopolitan environment, Istanbul is set to play an even greater role – not only nationally but also internationally. Financial investors from the UK are welcome to contribute to, and benefit from this development.
Tourism is a dynamic and resilient sector in Turkey. As of late 2011, Turkey ranks 7th in the most-visited global destinations list and 2nd globally in terms of bed numbers. Tourism revenues exceeded 23 billion Dollars last year. Turkey has been home to a mosaic of people and offers today’s traveller the chance to glimpse and savour the marvels of ancient civilisations, while also experiencing all that is expected from a dynamic, modern and industrialised nation. Anatolia, in particular, is an open-air museum that has yet to be exploited. Turkey set on reaching the target of 60 million visitors by 2023 - tantamount to doubling tourist inflows in just over a decade. If we move beyond traditional marketing tools and embrace new marketing trends like social media, it is perfectly possible that we may even attract 70 billion Dollars in annual tourism income by the centennial anniversary year. As for the British tourists, around 2.5 million UK citizens visited Turkey annually over the past four years and more importantly, they have been buying real estate to live in our country. Almost 36.000 UK citizens purchased properties in coastal cities of Turkey and they rank first among foreign nationals who own real estate in Turkey. If this trend continues we will see more and more fish and chips shops around Turkey!

Distinguished guests,

Europe has been facing the most serious economic and financial crisis since World War II. Tackling the crisis requires unprecedented action from European economic authorities to maintain economic and financial stability. It is all the more important today to further strengthen Turkish-UK business links in order to overcome economic difficulties. We have got all the necessary inputs to achieve this; strong political will; economic potential; favourable investment climate and strong private sectors. Turkey is now the rising star of Eurasia and I would like to invite you to explore vibrant business opportunities in Turkey to the mutual interests of our nations.

Thank you.


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