Holland-Turkey Business Forum 2016, The Hague/Netherlands

The Netherlands has the third largest number of Turkish origin population hosted in an EU member country. A population of over 500,000 people living in this country function as a bridge of culture and economic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands. The commercial activities between the two countries have displayed an outstanding performance in recent years, during which period parties succeeded to increase their mutual trade figure to US$ 6,1 billion in 2015 from a humble figure of 2,4 billion in 2002.

It goes without saying that the importance attributed to frequent official contacts between the Netherlands and Turkey and efficient flow of feedback in all walks of life have contributed to their improving relations.

Within this scope an official delegation from Turkey headed by Turkish Minister of Economy Mr. Mustafa ELİTAŞ and many executives from prominent Turkish companies was received by their counterparts in the Netherlands to attend an important business forum longed for, as it had not been possible to realize such an event for the last few years.

A group of members representing the Turkey- Netherlands Business Council of DEIK headed by Mr. Murat ÖZYEGIN, FIBA Holding Board Member were included in said official delegation, as well.

The purpose of said event was to bring Dutch companies interested in investing in Turkey and willing to do business in this country together with Turkish companies. Besides, it was intended to give some Turkish companies interested in doing business with Dutch companies and investement in the Netherlands the opportunity to evaluate their plans.

The fact that besides DEIK several official establishments such as Turkish Ministry of Economy, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VNO-NCW (the largest industrial organization in the Netherlands), MKB (Organization of SME’s in the Netherlands) participated in the organization which was hosted by HOTIAD (organization of Turkish entrepreneurs in the Netherlands), caused the event to attract much attention and interest and all parties had the opportunity to exchange opinions and plans to improve the ties between two countries.

In the forum Mr. Mustafa ELİTAŞ, Turkish Minister of Economy made an important speech to cover following points:

“Our two countries have been experiencing a remarkable and outstanding cooperation in regards to mutual investments and The Netherlands is the country which receives the maximum amount of capital investment from Turkish companies.”

Mr ELITAS went on to emphasize Turkey was the 4th fastest growing G20 country as of 2015 and took stable steps on the way to qualifying for the group of countries with high national income. The Minister also expressed Turkey had pulled down its foreign deficit figures last year while displaying a growth performance, simultaneously.

In brief Mr. ELITAS also underlined Turkey and the Netherlands could undertake many projects in joint venture and the construction business would be of priority in this regard as Turkish companies had gained big experience in the sector in regions such as the Middle East, North Africa, and Commonwealth of Independent States (Turkic Republics and others).

The Minister also pointed out that Turkey was among the most prominent tourism destinations in the world to attract 1,2 million visitors from the Netherlands in 2015 despite several major unfavorable force-majeure occasions and this performance should be improved through mutual efforts by both parties.

Eventually the Minister also updated parties about Turkey’s stance regarding the Syrian issue and expressed the fact Turkey had not refrained from making a great sacrifice by receiving 2,7 million refugees and spending a budget of US$ 10 billion to host and cover those people.

On the other hand Lilianne Ploumen, The Minister of Foreign Trade and Development for the Netherlands expressed Turkey was an important country in terms of strategic and geopolitical factors and it deserved to receive compliments for its contribution to the refugee issue and its cooperation with the EU, in this regard.

The Minister went on to say they spent uninterrupted efforts to overcome problems related to visa issue knowing its importance to upgrade relations between two countries.

Mr. OLPAK (Chairman of Musiad) also delivered a speech saying under no circumstance could terror be verified regardless of any excuses or reasons and the only important thing was that it had to do with human losses.

He expressed that as business people they were happy about the trade volume and mutual investments between the Netherlands and Turkey but they should also assume responsibility to further develop relations between two countries

In the meantime parties signed an agreement for Economic and Commercial Partnership Committee (JETCO) prior to the forum. The agreement was signed by Mr. Elitaş and Ms. Ploumen on behalf of Turkey and the Netherlands.

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