Ambassador Hatun Demirer's Interview With Bna Which Was Also Printed By Al Wasat And Al Watan Newspapers

Manama Büyükelçiliği 01.03.2015

English text of the Turkish Ambassador's interview with BNA

Turkish Ambassador in interview with BNA said: that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Bahrain has always a tendency to increase. We have realized approximately 500 million USD trade volume in 2014.

Written by Rasha Al Ebrahim

Turkish Ambassador has announced that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Bahrain has always a tendency to increase.We have realized approximately 500 million USD trade volume in 2014. This number was 139 million USD in 2009. Trade volume between Turkey and the GCC was close to 16 billion USD in 2014.

Also she decleared that Turkey hosted around 37 million tourists in 2014, Turkey is certainly one of the leading tourism destinations in the world. My country is blessed with immense accumulation of cultural heritage. For thousand years Anatolia was the cradle of cultures and civilizations connecting Europe and Asia.

With its gorgeous landscape, spectacular countryside, turquoise coastline and rich historic legacy, all over Turkey is just like an open air museum. Anybody visiting Turkey dives into this magnificent environment.

Yet, Turkey is not just a sea and sun country, but beyond that; Turkey is also a destination for health tourism, a heaven for outdoor/adrenalin sports, a new hub for international conferences and conventions and a destination for religion and belief tourism with its ancient mosques, churches and synagogues.

Surrounded by Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea, Turkey is a real yachting paradise. Istanbul and all main resort centers on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have marinas. There is a major plan to increase the capacity to meet the growing demand for yacht tourism.

She said that over the last two decades Turkey has made considerable investments on infrastructure. Improvement of transportation lines, modernization of airports and air terminals, construction of new airports and establishment of advanced communication networks are just some of the efforts put forward by the Turkish Government. Our strong, dynamic and creative private sector in tourism field enjoys full support of the Turkish Government. Turkish firms engaging in tourism sector continuously upgrade accommodation facilities and invest in human resources for keeping up the top quality services that they provide.

Added that: as having long land borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran, Turkey is one of the major powers of this region. A peaceful and stable region has always been a priority for Turkey. Unfortunately, our region in particular and the world in general are passing through turbulent times. During such a period, solidarity and close cooperation among and between the regional countries are more indispensable than ever. So Turkey will continue to pursue closer relations with all the regional countries for a more peaceful and more stable region.

Turkey aims at having closer relations, cooperation and solidarity with all the Arab countries with which we share a common history and culture. At bilateral level, apart from regular mutual high level visits, we have political consultation mechanisms, joint economic commissions, joint business, culture and labour councils with many Arab countries. With certain Arab countries we have also established bilateral “High Level Strategic Cooperation Councils”. With the GCC as well we have a separate “High Level Strategic Dialogue Mechanism” which was established in 2008.

Besides being a Middle Eastern country, Turkey is also a European country and in that sense, is a part of the Western world. But downgrading this fact only to the geographical blessing would not be just and equitable. Turkey is a secular parliamentary democracy governed by rule of law. EU membership is a national strategic goal for Turkey. Our bilateral relations with European countries are developing as parallel to Turkey’s EU membership goal. It is an active member of NATO, the Council of Europe, the OECD and the OSCE. More than five million Turkish citizens living in European countries continue to bring multiple added value to Europe in terms of enriching their ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversities.

And when we asked her about the future plans and investments sge said: Turkish economy has shown remarkable performance with its steady growth over the last decade. As a major emerging power with a strong voice on global issues, Turkey has assumed the G-20 Presidency in 2015.

A sound macroeconomic strategy in combination with prudent fiscal policies and major structural reforms in effect since 2002 has integrated the Turkish economy into the globalized world, while transforming the country into one of the major recipients of foreign direct investment in its region. The structural reforms, hastened by Turkey’s European Union accession process, have paved the way for comprehensive changes in a number of areas. The role of the private sector in the Turkish economy was enhanced, efficiency and resiliency of the financial sector has been increased and our social security system became stronger as a result of the fundamental reforms realized by the Turkish Government. Turkish Government’s reforms will certainly go on in the future as well.

Our Government’s investments in major infrastructure projects will continue. Connecting every corner of Turkey with railways alongside with highways, construction of a third airport in Istanbul and building of a third bridge over the Bosphorus are just some of the ongoing multi-billion Dollars projects in Turkey.

Turkish Ambassador expected that as the number of tourists travelling from the Gulf region to Turkeyincrease, the number of the Turkish restaurants in Bahrain and the GCC will increase. Turkish cuisine is well known for its rich variety of dishes reflecting thousand years of cultural accumulation. Some Turkish meals are so tasty that one may easily become addicted.

And when we asked about the country which has the largest trading rate with Turkey she said:

Turkey has “Customs Union” with the European Union for long years now. More than half of Turkey’s foreign trade is with European countries. Europe remains to be the biggest market for Turkish exports. The inflow of foreign capital from European countries is increasing day by day, while private sectors run joint projects and millions of European tourists visit Turkey every year.

Turkey’s biggest trade partners are Germany, Russian Federation and China.

Added that: On this occasion, I would like to express that Turkey is also attractive in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI in Turkey has reached to 136.5 billion USD in 2003-2013 period. I am proud to say that we have investors from Bahrain as well.

With asking her about how does Turkey overlook the MENA region especially under the current challenges and threats?

She replied that: Our region is passing through tough times. Nowadays extremist terrorists seem to be the biggest threat for all regional countries, including Turkey. However, from a realistic point of view, this will not be the last threat and there would always be new challenges in this region. The solution for the current and potential threats in our region is short and simple: To stick together as regional countries. Added that, unfortunately, this is also the biggest deficiency in our region. The countries in this region have difficulty to join their forces even for the most obvious common causes. As an example, decades long suffering of our Palestinian brothers and sisters is a common cause for all of us. There is not one single Muslim in this region who did not shed tears for Palestine. Yet, despite this fact, can we say that countries of this region have sincerely united their forces for ending this misery? Reply is simple: no. If we would have united our forces for the Palestinian cause, there would not have been any Palestinian suffering today at all.

And also regarding the current challenges facing our region, Turkey’s policies are quite clear: we want peace, stability and prosperity to take root and flourish within our own territory and in the Middle East. All our efforts are aimed at attaining these goals. Our region has inherent capacity, capability, strength and immense financial and human resources to overcome any threat by itself. Being aware of this fact, Turkey, as one of the major powers of this region, will continue to be both initiator and supporter of bilateral, regional and international cooperation schemes serving peace and stability of the region.

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