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The Economic Times of India - The Turkish Minister for foreign trade, Kursad Tuzmen, found the time to share with us his vision of the future of Türkiye and the ties that can be forged between Türkiye and India.
The dynamic structural transformation process that the Turkish economy has been undergoing since 2001 has revealed the potential of Turkish economy and strengthened Türkiye's place in the world. With its rapidly growing and stable economy, the EU candidacy and strong historical and cultural ties with its neighbors, Türkiye is a political and economic power station within its region.
The economic indicators are very impressive. Today the size of the Turkish economy is 480 billion dollars. In just three years, Turkish economy expanded by almost 1/3. GDP growth is expected to be around 6% in 2007. At the end of 2007, the total foreign direct investment in Türkiye is expected to reach 100 billion dollars, our contracting services export tops 100 billion dollars on a cumulative basis and our annual export has already exceeded 100 billion dollars.
Türkiye is among the Next Eleven countries named by the Goldman Sachs investment bank as having promising outlooks for investment and future growth. We believe that this is not a coincidence. The proof is the increased foreign investment in Türkiye. We are ranked 5th among the developing countries and 7th among the OECD countries. In 2006, we attracted 20.2 billion dollar foreign direct investment and in 2007, we maintained that level. In 2002, there were just 5500 foreign companies in Türkiye. Today, we have more than 17 thousands. Today Turkish economy is about one third of the Central and Eastern Europe's total GDP and Türkiye alone realizes almost 60 % of all exports of industrial products in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Today the Turkish manufacturers are ranked among the top 10 producers in the world for sectors like textile, clothing, ceramics, glass, natural stone, ship building, iron and steel, construction, jewelry. We have 6 banks among the biggest 200 commercial banks in the world. We have more than 40 thousands exporters, working to expand their market share aggressively in more than 150 countries.
We are not only attracting foreign investors, we are going overseas, exploring the opportunities. Today, Turkish companies invest in the future of other countries as well. In this respect, Turkish companies are the biggest investors in Central Asia in non-energy sectors... We are ready to increase the trade volume to higher figures reflecting the real strengths of Turkish and Indian economies. It is my belief that a Free Trade Agreement to be concluded between our countries will stimulate trade figures to the expected levels while diversifying the products subject to bilateral trade. There exist considerable opportunities to promote economic cooperation between Türkiye and India including joint ventures. Indeed, the cooperation initiatives between the Turkish and Indian business circles have gained a momentum during the last years. Energy, mining, biotechnology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, tourism, hotel management, automotive, information technologies and railway transportation constitute potential areas for Indian companies to cooperate with their Turkish counterparts in Türkiye.