Turkey-MENA Forum 2012

Şefik Vural Altay 17.09.2012



Dubai, 17/09/2012

Good Morning to you all,

Your .Excellency Mohammad Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the participants of this important Forum.
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to address the distinguished members of the UAE and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) business community on this important occasion.
At the outset, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciations to HSBC Bank and Gulf Intellegence for kindly hosting this timely event.

I am confident that this activity will bear fruitfull results in terms of economic and commercial cooperation between Turkey and UAE in particular, Turkey and MENA countries in general and also contribute to a better understanding of the opportunities that exist in our regions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me start by underlining that throughout its long history, Turkey has always found itself surrounded by opportunities and challenges. This fact is ever more evident today.

Therefore, in addressing various challenges and risks as well as making use of different opportunities, Turkey possesses many assets.

Above all, Turkey’s most important asset is its human resources. The dynamism, pragmatism and spirit of entrepreneurship of the Turkish people are the main driving force behind Turkey’s policies. ( Over 26 million young, well- educated and motivated professionals/the longest working hours and lowest sick day leaves per employee in Europe with 52,9 hours worked per week in 2011 and annual average of 4.6 sick days per employee/ app. 500 thousand students graduating annually from 170 Universities/ More than 700 thousand high school graduates around half from vocational and technical high schools)

On the other hand , Turkey is a strong supporter of universal values in its region and in the world: such as democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance, liberal economy and enterpreneurship.

Turkey’s foreign policy which can be summarized as ‘peace at home peace in the world’ is of great significance for regional peace and stability. Turkey perceives regional cooperation as a confidence building mechanism and therefor is an advocator and an initiator of regional cooperation.

Our geography calls for caution and vigilance. Turkey’s multidimensional foreign policy reflects a combination of realistic as well as idealistic factors.

Consequently, Turkey is recognized as a stability generator and a security producer in its region and beyond.


Now a couple of words about the Turkish economy.

The economic dimension of Turkey’s experience plays an important role in making her vision credible.

Turkey, with its 75 million population, 27 million labour force, 770 Billion US Dollar GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and over 10.000 US Dolar GDP per capita income, is one of the most dynamic economies and emerging markets of the world.

Turkish economy is open to foreign trade flows and foreign investment. Besides having a customs union agreement with the European Union since 1996, Turkey has so far signed free trade agreements with 19 countries in Europe, Middle East and North Africa. As a result of this open trade policy, at the end of 2011, Turkey’s exports have reached the level of 135 Billion US Dollars whereas its imports have reached 241 Billion US Dollars.

With the exception of oil and natural gas, Turkey can be considered self-sufficient as far as natural resources are concerned. With various projects already realized or in the process of realization Turkey is turning into an energy hub (terminal), a reliable route to bring Caspian, Central Asian and Middle Eastern energy resources to the world markets and Europe. Just to give you an example, in order to meet the increasing energy demand in Turkey we have to invest more than 5 billion US every year for a period of 10-12 years.

As you all know, Turkish economy enjoyed strong fundamentals during the global economic crisis in 2008. Since 2002, we have implemented a strong economic and financial program which involved fiscal discipline, prudent monetary policies, banking sector reforms and comprehensive structural reforms to increase the competitiveness of the Turkish economy. These measures will continue in the period ahead as well.

In 2011, Turkish economy grew by 8.5 percent, second fastest in the world and No:1 in Europe. Turkey is expected to be one of the fastest growing economies in Europe in 2012 as well. With an app. growth rate of 4% (soft landing)

According to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Turkey is expected to be the fastest growing economy amongst the OECD members during 2011-2017, with an annual average growth rate of 6.7 percent.

As I mentioned earlier, In 2011, Turkey achieved an export level of almost 135 bn Dollars.
Similarly, tourism revenues exceeded 23 billion Dollars in 2011. We expect this to go beyond 25 billion US in 2012.

Today, being the 16th biggest economy in the world, 6th biggest economy in the EU with its ever rising economic climate, Turkey stands firmly in its place amongst the global economies stated as centers of attraction.

Let me give you some concrete statistics with regard to our position in different sectors in 2011 worldwide.

Turkey is the;

- 2nd biggest flat glass producer in the world
- 2nd biggest jewellery exporter and 3rd biggest manufacturer of gold and jewelery in the world
- 3rd biggest TV exporter in the world
- 4th biggest ceramic tile and natural stone manufacturer in the world
- 5th biggest shipbuilder (in terms of number) and 3rd mega yacht producer in the world
- 5th biggest fresh fruits producer in the world
- 6th biggest cement producer in the world
- 6th biggest clothing exporter in the world

- 8th biggest iron&steel producer in the world
- 15th biggest automobile manufacturer in the world
- 1st boron mineral producer in the world

Some additional statistics with regard to our place in Europe

Turkey is the:

- biggest light commercial vehicle manufacturer and the second biggest bus manufacturer in t Europe.
- 1st clothing manufacturer in Europe
- 1st fertilizer manufacturer in Europe
- 3rd biggest iron&steel manufacturer in Europe
- 4th biggest automotive and automotive parts manufacturer in Europe
- 4th largest telecom market in Europe
- 6th biggest refrigerator manufacturer in Europe

And now couple of figures that show the huge potential of the Turkish market as well as its major achievements during the last decade.

- 36 million internet users in 2011, up from 4 million in 2002
- 65 million GSM (mobile phone) users in 2011, up from 23 million in 2002
- 51 million credit card users in 2011, up from 16 million in 2002
- Over 90 million airline passengers in 2011, up from 33 million in 2002
- 31,5 million international tourist arrivals in 2011, up from 13 million in 2002

I am sure that these figures are sufficient to give you an idea about the potential we have in Turkey and more than enough to grow your appetite.


If I may, I now would like to speak about the relations between Turkey and the MENA countries. We attach great importance to our relations with the countries in the MENA Region.

As you all know, nowadays we closely cooperate and collaborate with them on a wide range of important issues.. We are determined to extend our cooperation into new areas of mutual interest.

In this regard, we are particularly keen to further strengthen our economic and commercial ties with the countries of the region.

Turkey already signed free trade agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.We have also started negotiations for a free trade agreement to be signed between Turkey and the GCC. (4 round of negotiatons)

Middle East and North Africa region’s share in Turkey’s trade and investment has been steadily increasing over the last decade. In 2000, the share of Middle East and North Africa countries in Turkey’s total exports was 13 % only, last year , the share of Middle East and North Africa countries in Turkey’s exports reached over 25 %.

In order to boost trade relations, we participate in almost every major trade fair and exhibition every year organized in the MENA region.

Turkish contractors undertook major projects in MENA region for many years. They have completed hotels, towers, malls and also projects that need high level technical capacity, such as metro projects, airports, pipelines and highways. As an example, As you all know, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) recently confirmed that consortium which includes TAV Construction Company of Turkey was chosen as the winning bidder for the $3.2bn construction contract on the Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport.


Having said all these, I would like to encourage Emirati and Arab brothers and investors to further boost their engagement in the highly lucrative Turkish market.

Needless to say, Turkey offers rich opportunities for MENA companies in the areas of agriculture and food, energy, tourism, real estate, finance, healthcare and many others.

In a nutshell, I have tried to outline Turkey’s political vision and economic prospects.

Today Turkey is one of the most important emerging markets which should be seriously taken into consideration for safe and profitable investments.

My message to the MENA business community in general and to the UAE business community in particular, is to utilize the vast opportunities that the Turkish economy offers needless to say to the benefit of both sides. If we can do that I am sure that our relationship and togetherness will reach higher levels.

I wish the Forum all the best in its deliberations.

Thank you.

Pazar - Perşembe

09:00 - 16:00

Konsolosluk başvuru saatleri:
09:00 - 12:00
1.1.2019 1.1.2019 Miladi Yılbaşı
3.4.2019 3.4.2019 Miraç Kandili
5.6.2019 6.6.2019 Ramazan Bayramı
11.8.2019 14.8.2019 Kurban Bayramı
30.8.2019 30.8.2019 Zafer Bayramı
1.9.2019 1.9.2019 Hicri Yılbaşı
29.10.2019 29.10.2019 Cumhuriyet Bayramı
10.11.2019 10.11.2019 Mevlit Kandili
30.11.2019 30.11.2019 Anma Günü
2.12.2019 2.12.2019 BAE Milli Günü