As part of an on-going trade initiative to strengthen relations with the UK, members of the Turkish Government took time out from a business forum in London this week to open the London Stock Exchange, an event that presented an opportunity for Turkey‘s Minister of Economy, Zafer Caglayan, and chairman of property specialist Spot Blue David Walker to discuss Turkey’s economy.
The development of Anglo-Turkish trade relationships, and how to facilitate access to the markets of each country, were discussed in detail at the fourth annual Joint Economy and Trade Committee (JETCO), which was held at the Fishmonger’s Hall in London on 22nd April. A key result of this year’s JETCO was the agreement to ease the visa procedures for Turks entering the UK for business purposes – a total of 500 Turkish businesspeople will initially benefit from the joint program. In addition to Minister Zafer Caglayan and his delegation, and David Walker, who is also Vice Chairman and Director at the Turkish British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TBCCI), attendees at the event included Lord Green, the Minister of UK Trade and Investment.
Commented David Walker: “Turkey’s strong GDP figures speak for themselves. The country recognises – and is keen to capitalise on – the opportunities it has for foreign direct investment and reciprocal long-term trade relationships with the UK. While the government has made huge strides in amending laws to open up its property market in the past couple of years, real estate – be it residential or commercial – is only a part of the investment opportunities on offer. Household names from the UK High Street are appearing in Turkey more and more – to name a few, HSBC, Rolls-Royce, Vodafone, BP, Shell, Tesco, M&S and Harvey Nichols all have operations there. ”
Turkey is currently the world’s 18th largest economy, below Holland and Indonesia. Recent figures from the World Bank list the country’s GDP as £774.9 billion. Growing confidence in the Turkish economy was boosted last month when Standard and Poor upgraded its credit rating for Turkey from BB to BB+. This follows on from Fitch Ratings upgrading Turkey to investment grade last November. In 2010, David Cameron and Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan signed a Strategic Partnership, under which they committed to double bilateral trade by 2015.
David Walker has a prominent role in driving Anglo-Turkish trade relations. As well as his positions at Spot Blue and the TBCCI, he is a Non-Executive Director at ISB Turkey and is a consultant for Turkish IPOs in the UK and UK firms entering the Turkish market. Last November, he was runner up to Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, for Turkey’s most “Supportive British” at the prestigious Most Successful Turk Awards (MSTA) in London.