Sunday, February 20, 2011

Meeting the Consul General from Turkey

I had the privilege to sit in on a luncheon presentation by Akil Oktem, Consul General of Turkey today and learned some very interesting facts about Turkey and that region.

Turkey is the bridge between East and West.
Turkey is the 16th largest economy in the world; with a population of 73 million, it is roughly the size of Texas. In comparison, if Texas were a country, it would be the 12th largest economy in the world.  So Turkey is nothing to pass over lightly.

More significantly, is where Turkey is located.  As the Turkey is sandwiched between Europe to the northwest, Russian and Asia to the northeast, the Middle East to the south and southeast, and Africa to its southwest.  Honorable Mr. Oktem stated,

"Turkey is a stable island amidst a sea of  instability."

Traditional Istanbul
Why Turkey?  Napoleon Bonaparte said that "if the world were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital."  For 700 years the Ottoman Empire was the cradle of empires and Istanbul was the city that dominated 3 continents.  Sitting as the key gateway between East and West, Turkey is a diverse melting pot of culture and religion.  Historically known for its secular and religious tolerance, one can find mosques, churches, and synagogues standing side by side.

Today, the city of Istanbul is considered to have the best economy in the world.  Growth is expected to be 8% in 2011 and approach double-digits by 2014.  In perspective, the city of Austin was considered to have the best city economy in the U.S. in the same year, but was ranked 26th in the world. From a technological viewpoint, Turkey has 64 million GMS cell phone users and is 11th in the world in Internet usage.
73% of its imports are raw materials;  95% of its exports are industrial goods.

Modern Istanbul
The General Consul stated that key market opportunities over the next ten years will be:
  • Renewable Energy, including nuclear, solar, and alternative energy
  • Medical Equipment and Supplies
  • Education
  • Environmental Products
  • Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal Services

Turkey is a secular republic.  And while the population is 95% Muslim, its ethically diverse population is quite tolerant of other religious organizations.

Turkey has been in a Customs Union with the EU since 1996 and applied to be a full-member of the European Union in 2006.

More information on Doing Business in Turkey can be found at:

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