State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen departed for Athens on April 4. Tüzmen met Greek Minister of Development Demetris Sioufas, Minister of National Economy and Finance George Alogoskoufis, and Minister of Aegean and Island Politics Aristotelis Pavlidis during his stay in this country. Tüzmen attended an ‘Economic Forum’ and attended the opening of Turkish shops in Athens. Economic relations between Turkey and Greece are improving, and their bilateral trade is on the rise, Alogoskoufis said. In a meeting with Tüzmen in Athens, Alogoskoufis underlined the importance of Turkey’s EU membership for both countries. Alogoskoufis also qualified the new Finansbank-National Bank of Greece partnership as an important development. “We have the potential to boost bilateral trade. We will support the businessmen of our two countries,” he added. Meanwhile, Tüzmen said that Turkey and Greece can obtain a greater share in world trade, adding that Turkey appreciates Greece’s support as regards its EU membership bid. “Greece has demonstrated its confidence in Turkey’s future by purchasing Finansbank,” Tüzmen said. Tüzmen attended the opening of Turkish boutiques Ipekyol, Machka, Inci and Koton in Athens’ first and biggest shopping center, ‘The Mall’. During the opening ceremony, Tüzmen indicated that the trade volume between Turkey and Greece had doubled in the last three years, and said that it is expected to exceed 2 billion USD by the end of this year. Tüzmen also noted that Turkey expects Greece to solve the visa problems which Turkish businessmen experience. Tüzmen also met Greek Minister of Aegean and Island Politics Aristotelis Pavlidis in Athens. Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Pavlidis, Tüzmen stressed that the meeting was held in an extremely warm atmosphere and that it had created the environment for cooperation. “We spoke about the development of trade between cities on the Aegean coast and Greek islands. We focused on how we can send fresh vegetables and fruits to the islands,” Tüzmen said. Tüzmen noted that delays caused by laboratory tests and the issuance of certificates make the trade of fresh vegetables and fruits difficult. Tüzmen returned home on April 6.
The Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen (TUSIAD) took part in the Extraordinary Council of Presidents Meeting of the Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe (UNICE) in Paris. Executive Board Chairman Ömer Sabancı represented the Association at the meeting held on April 7. Participants assessed the implementation of national reform programs, elimination of obstacles in the domestic market, strengthening research and development, increasing job opportunities and supporting entrepreneurship as well as explaining the potential of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Europe.
The Business Aegean Bank (BAB, a joint venture of Turkish and Greek businessmen) will open its headquarters in Athens at the end of June. Panayotis Kotsikos, founder member and Chairman of the Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, stated on April 6 that BAB was established with the aim of boosting trade and investment between the two countries. He said that they had applied to the Greek Central Bank to obtain permission. Kotsikos said entrepreneurs had displayed great interest in the promotions launched in Greece and Turkey and added: “We have decided to raise the capital of the bank to 100 million euro as a result of this interest.”
Turkey sent trade delegations to Algeria, Qatar and the Philippines to further improve economic and commercial ties with these countries. A group of Turkish businessmen visited Algeria between April 17-20 to promote Turkish products and develop cooperation between the two countries.
“We expect that Kosovo’s political position will be determined by the end of 2006,” Johachim Rucker, UN Secretary General’s Deputy Special Representative to Kosovo has said. Industry and Trade Minister Bujar Dugolli of Kosovo and Rucker have met Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coşkun in Ankara. During the meeting, Rucker indicated that it is now time to invest in Kosovo because those who invest today will have a leading position in the future. Rucker listed the areas in which foreigners can invest in Kosovo as mining, energy, and agriculture. Meanwhile, Coşkun said that Turkey is continuing to exert efforts for establishing good relations in the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
The Turkish-Finnish Political Consultations were held in Ankara on April 11. The respective delegations of the two countries were chaired by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ali Tuygan and Finnish Foreign Ministry State Secretary Arto Mansala. The consultations focused on bilateral relations and current regional and international issues. Mansala met Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan in Ankara.
State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan left for Qatar on April 11. Babacan took part in Doha Economic Forum and inform participants on the Turkish economy and Turkey’s EU accession process. He returned home on April 12.
Turkish and African businessmen will meet aiming to boost Turkey’s foreign trade with Africa. More than 500 businessmen from 30 African countries and 1,500 Turkish businessmen will attend “Turkey-Africa Foreign Trade Bridge” meeting of Confederation of Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) to be held between May 8 and 9 in Istanbul. The businessmen will discuss ways to improve trade opportunities through bilateral talks.