Turkish-US economic relations discussed in Washington

On 30 March 2016, a gala dinner jointly organised by DEİK, TAİK and the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey, İSPAT, was held in Washington. The event was attended by the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Economics Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Elitaş, DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan, İSPAT President Arda Ermut, the President of the DEİK/Turkey-USA Business Council (TAİK) and 450 representatives of the Turkish and American business communities.

In his address, the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, emphasised the importance of economic, trade and investment relations with the United States, which he qualified as equally significant as the political, military and defence dimension of their partnership. Turkey would continue to be a paragon of stability in the region, and as one of the up and coming nations, Turkey wanted to consolidate its position with new investments and mega projects.

Unfortunately, economic, trade and investment relations between Turkey and the United States had not yet achieved the desired level. To change this situation, President Erdoğan, invited the American business community to invest in Turkey. One purpose of this visit had been to find an answer to the question of how to advance the trade relations. In this context, Erdoğan expressed his commitment to the targets defined in his country's vision for the year 2023. He was closely watching the progress of TTIP negotiations between the United States and the European Union. He deplored not to be included because of Turkey's Customs Union with the EU. Being left out of the TTIP had a negative impact on the country's economy. At this point he sought support from the American business community. They were wasting an opportunity. "Turkey", he stressed, "is a country with a liberal economy. You will face no problems, when doing business in Turkey," he promised: "And you will not find a single company with such an experience."

DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan said in his speech that Turkey until this day had fulfilled all its obligations as an ally. Turkey became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation only three years after its establishment in 1949. Today, Turkey was an inseparable part of the West. While enjoying the stability and safety provided by NATO, his country had also made great sacrifices for the security of the West and will continue to do so in the future. "But the relation is not only about security," Vardan said, "we also entertain very stable economic relations with the United States. After the visit of President Obama to Turkey in 2009, the Turkish-American cooperation took on the character of a model partnership." Vardan also advocated stronger trade and investment ties which were still below the desired level. Speaking directly to the people present he said: "The persons in this room represent a very serious economic potential", and he appealed to Turkish and American firms to invest more, to trade more and to realise joint projects in third countries. "On the eve of the TTIP agreement which will change the rule book of global trade," he called for mutual support and for a strategic decision to revise the Turkish-American economic partnership by including Turkey in the TTIP process.