Remarks by Ambassador Selçuk Ünal for Carleton University MBA Students (Ottawa, 17 March 2016), 18.03.2016
It is a pleasure for me to address such a distinguished audience here at Sprott School of Business in Carleton University. Thank you all for your interest and participation. Before I begin my presentation on Turkish economy I would like to thank Professor Lorraine Dyke and Professor David Peippo, his department and the sponsors, in particular Oz optics, for the organization of this event.
Turkey is a rising economic powerhouse and a strong emerging power in the global economy,
- with a young, well educated, qualified work force (half the population under the age of 31),
- a strong domestic market, competitive and dynamic private sector,
- highly developed technological infrastructure in transportation, telecommunications and energy sectors.
Today, Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the World, 6th largest in Europe with a GDP of about 800 billion dollars. According to the OECD and the IMF, Turkey is expected to continue to be the fastest growing economy amongst the OECD members and in the EU until 2030. Turkey aims to be among the top 10 economies in the world with 2 trillion USD GDP, 25.000 USD GDP per capita, and 500 billion USD exports by 2023. Turkey is a member of NATO and G20, an accession country to the EU, having a Customs Union with the EU since 1996. It is an energy terminal and corridor in its region connecting the East and the West. The volume of Turkish exports increased to 158 billion US dollars in 2014 from 36 billion US dollars in 2002. The total trade volume accounted for 400 billion US dollars in 2014.
Turkey has emerged as a top investment destination for foreign investors especially during the past 15 years. The structural transformation in the public finance, improvements in tax system and strengthening of the banking sector contributed to Turkey’s resilience to shocks and laid the ground for strong growth.
Structural reforms in Turkey have improved the investment climate which in turn attracted Foreign Direct Investments. The total amount of FDI inflows since 2005 has reached to 143 billion US dollars with 12,5 billion US dollars only in 2014.
Thanks to these structural reforms, Turkish economy registered a notable recovery in the wake of the global economic crisis and expanded by more than 5 percent on average between 2010 and 2014. Unlike the economic plague described as jobless recovery, growth in Turkey translated into millions of new jobs. Let me also mention that the growth expectation for the first quarter of this year was close to 4%.
We have an established political system, mature and dynamic private sector, liberal and secure investment environment and a growing domestic market. Young, well-educated and motivated labour force is another pull factor for foreign investors to Turkey.
With this performance, Turkey has become the commercial hub of the region. It is the; - Largest Home Appliances and TV Manufacturer in Europe,
- 7th Largest Agricultural Producer in the World,
- 17th Largest Automotive manufacturer in the World,
- Largest commercial vehicle and bus manufacturer in Europe.
On another note, the amount of Turkish foreign direct investments (FDI) abroad has also risen exponentially. As of 2013, more than 4.000 Turkish companies have invested around 30 billion US dollars abroad.
This type of an economic growth brought drastic changes to the society. The total number of mobile phone subscribers has reached 70 million while credit card users reached to 57 million last year. There are 42 million broadband internet subscribers. More than half of all households in Turkey have computers with internet access, which is expected to rise to 65 percent over the next five years. Turkey is now the second biggest facebook nation in the world after the US. Last year, Turkey became the third biggest film producing country after the US and India.
Turkey is currently the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world, attracting more than 35 million tourists annually. During the past two decades, Istanbul has become a hub for transport, energy, business, arts and culture. 80 million passengers travelled through Istanbul in 2014, thus underlining its global hub status. This year it is expected to become the fifth most visited city in the world.
Turkish air transportation sector ranks 11th in the world and now employs almost 200 thousand people. It created 30 billion dollars revenue last year. After the privatization process of our flag carrier which started in 1990, Turkish Airlines grew significantly in the past two decades. Today, flying to 229 international destinations, it has become the airline which flies to the most countries in the world. Of 80 million passengers traveling through Istanbul last year, 57 million of them was travelling with Turkish Airlines. You can reach to more than a dozen countries with an hour flight from Istanbul and within 4 hours from Istanbul you can reach to 1,5 billion people in 57 countries, a geography extending from Ireland to India. Needless to say, they want to expand in Canada too.
The relations between Turkey and Canada progress in many fields. Bilateral trade reached to 2,6 billion Canadian Dollars in 2015. However, we believe the current level of trade and investment volume between our countries do not represent the real potential.
A closer look into Turkish-Canadian trade for the year previous years reveals that there is much room for improvement in our bilateral trade. Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan has named Turkey as a top emerging market with broad Canadian interests. Export Development Canada, with a permanent presence in Istanbul, has identified Turkey a strategic market of opportunity for Canadian firms.
The finalization of an Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation in 2009 has created an environment more conducive to bilateral investments. The exploratory talks for a Free Trade Agreement between Turkey and Canada were successfully completed in 2013. Formal negotiations are expected to be initiated upon the decision of the Canadian Cabinet. We hope that relations of the two trading nations will further increase when it is concluded.