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11th President Gül addressed the Summit of German World Market Leaders

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11th President Gül addressed the Summit of German World Market Leaders

President Gül: “I am confident that Turkish-German economic-commercial cooperation and partnership has a bright future…I believe that the new reformist push of the new Government in Turkey will be successful."

I am very pleased to address to the summit of German World Market leaders.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the German businessmen for their outstanding contributions to the dynamism of the World economy.

What I have just said has been recently confirmed by the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum.

In this context, I must highlight the exemplary role German Small and Medium Sized Enterprises play in the world economy in addition to the traditional important place of the bigger industries.

I know that representatives of some of these enterprises are among us. They deserve to be global market leaders with their high quality productions.

I am proud to observe that a remarkable number of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises belong to Turkish people living in Germany.

Indeed, German economy is now an indispensable element of global welfare.

However German companies need good partners abroad to make their performances sustainable.

Turkey, with her advantages in location, demographics (working age population), productivity and quality institutions is already one of such partners.

And, Turkey has a potential to consolidate such a role in the long term.

Therefore I am confident that Turkish-German economic-commercial cooperation and partnership has a bright future.

I am aware that the current challenges like the chaotic situation in the Middle East, refugee and terrorism issues effect negatively the usual optimism of the business leaders in Germany, Turkey and elsewhere.

I believe that the international community will address these issues altogether properly in due time.

Most of the current problems are essentially of political nature, although they are mostly and wrongly presented as religious, theological or sectarian conflicts.

Therefore, they should be addressed with political and diplomatic instruments in addition to military options whenever necessary.

Solutions for these issues should be realistic, fair and based on values. Certain indications of progress in this direction are already there.

I will mention some of these indications which are also closely related to German and Turkish interests:

- First of all, an international coalition against terrorism is gaining force with results in the field;

- Syria peace talks, are planned to begin this week under the auspicious of the United Nations

- A Government has been finally formed in Libya with the participation of the major rival factions.

- Nuclear deal with Iran is already functioning. This development might bring further positive political and economic consequences.

- Turkey and EU have recently taken the refugee problem in a comprehensive manner and agreed on a broad framework to improve their cooperation on this tragic issue.

- The negotiations between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots for a political settlement of the Cyprus issue seem to be going on in an optimistic atmosphere, with a view to reaching a conclusion this year.

- There are also indications of improvement in Turkey’s relations with Israel and Egypt, which have been installed for some years. This would even help the efforts towards resumption of the Middle East Peace process.

- Such developments would contribute to establishment of a better atmosphere in the East Mediterranean where gas resources are waiting to be exploited. In such a case gas resources in Cyprus, Egypt and Israel can be utilized and transmitted to Europe via Turkey under a single project.

These positive trends are worth giving strong and sincere support by all the interested parties and actors.

Once we, altogether, overcome the current threats, it will be the mission of economic actors to bring recovery and development in a wide geography.

In this context, Turkish-German cooperation and partnership will be more important than ever.

Turkey and Germany, as two hard working and constructive business minded powers, would be two benefiters of a peaceful and stable environment in the region and the world.

Such a cooperation will have new prospects in various fields from technology to tourism, from transportation to energy in a wide geography.

At this point, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Turkey presents higher opportunities with less risks, in comparison to African and Asian countries where you may gain more and take more risks at the same time.

This is due to the fact that Turkey is in the realm of EU acquis.

Not a full member yet, but adopting EU standarts in all ways of life.

I am sure many of you have observed that the Turkish companies under the management of a new generation of well-educated executives are fully open to international partnerships.

They are especially eager share technological experience and create new additional value through partnerships with German companies.

You should also note that, during the recent decades Turkish companies have developed remarkable skills to operate in the risky geographies.

On the other hand, I am confident that Turkish businessmen will be able to contribute to partnership between our countries much better once certain restrictions on their travel visas are eased by the German authorities.

I must add that, Turkish companies also deserve a more favourable arrangement of road transport, transit quotas and fares to contribute properly to our commercial links.

Talking about Turkey as a partner to Germany, allow me to make some remarks on the situation in Turkey.

After the General Elections of last November, there is a strong government in Turkey with a four years term.

A good news is that, the Government has began its new term with promises of comprehensive reforms.

This promise includes the preparation of a new modern Constitution, a new generation of economic and political reforms as a part of a medium term action plan for further transformation of Turkey.

This comprehensive structural reform program aims at boosting productivity, improving international competitiveness, and helping Turkey move up the value chain.

Investment on human capital stock by spending a quarter of our tax revenues on education is, I think, remarkable.

Talking about education, I should mention the establishment of the first German University in Istanbul in Bosphorus.

President Wulff and myself have personally pioneered this initiative which I hope will be one of the pillars of the relations of our countries, especially in the economic and cultural fields.

I am very much pleased that University has become one of the leading higher education institutions in such a short time. The language of education is German and all the academics have a background with German system. All the top Universities in Germany provide contribution in academic terms.

I certainly believe that the Turkish-German University will be a catalyst in furthering our economic cooperation through the contribution of young and qualified graduates who are fluent in both languages. Therefore I would like to invite you all to support this humble but important initiative.

Coming back to the reform program of the government:

This program, which I also support and encourage, includes 8 building blocks: They are:

- First item is enhancing ethic standards, transparency, accountability & combatting corruption;

- Secondly, Labor Reform;

- Third is public finance reform;

- Fourth item is a very important one for this audience: It is the investment climate reform. This includes further diminishing of bureaucracy, establishment of specialized courts related to cases on investments, middle and high level production of technology, a new research and development package among others. I hope the first ones to benefit from this improved investment climate will be German investor.

- Another item is judicial reform: aims reaching fully within EU standards and international norms and a more speedy judicial process.

- Education reform is also another important dimension of this package.

- Liberalization and energy reform which will facilitate obtaining of licenses and encourage energy productivity;

- Lastly, Public administration reform will aim to make public administration more efficient and modern.

These reforms will, I am sure, help the consolidation of Turkey’s EU accession process, which is instrumental in building better quality institutions.

I appreciate the Turkish Government’s refreshed commitment to keep Turkey firmly anchored to the European Union and favourable response received from the EU.

The reform program shows that the Government is aware of the fact that further strengthening the rule of law, enhancing of the standards of democracy, and boosting of fundamental rights and freedoms are indispensable in this process.

The proposal of the government for the redaction of a new constitution has been welcomed by all the parties in the parliament.

The new constitution is expected to conceive a modern administration, to guarantee the highest democratic standards and tackle the Kurdish issue as well in this framework.

I believe that the new reformist push in Turkey will be successful.

I believe that it ‘’can be’’ successful, because I have led a series of major economic and political reforms in 2003 as Prime Minister and later Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

This effort had culminated not only with the beginning of our accession negotiations with the European Union. But also we had doubled our GDP and witnessed one of the highest growth rate in the history of Turkey.

Later on, as President of the Republic I always encouraged the Government to continue with the reforms.

Therefore I have personally experienced the reformist trend in Turkey, including her Parliament, the opposition and the civil society.

I think such a reformist trend is needed and exists today as well.

Moreover, our economy has a sound basis to absorb new reforms:

- First of all, I would like to remind you that Turkey is a negotiating country with the EU. This means that Turkey has already met Maastricht economic criteria set by the EU. Still Turkey is in more compliance with these criteria in comparison to some member states.

- Turkey has a balanced budget in 2015 and a reduced gross public debt.

- Banking sector remains healthy.

- Seven million jobs have been created since the beginning of global financial crisis.

There are three indications which make me optimistic regarding the success of the reforms:

- The government has a clear timetable for the sectorial transformative programmes: weekly, monthly, three-six monthly, one to four years targets have been fixed. The timetable and its implementation will be open to public on web sites. Therefore, for example German companies will also be able to monitor the progress related to the investment climate in Turkey.

- These targets cover 1250 micro-reforms.

- The reform programme is being coordinated by a Deputy Prime Minister who is well experienced in pursuing reforms.

Although Turkey’s macroeconomic fundamentals are strong, more reforms would help to reduce inflation to lower single digits on a lasting basis.

They would also help increase savings which are currently at a low level and thus would keep the deficit on a downward trend.

Thus, the economy will be more resilient to the headwinds, slowdown of global economy, reversal in capital flows and geopolitical tensions.

Moreover success of the second generation economic and political reforms in Turkey will give positive messages to the peoples of both Europe and the Middle East.

Before ending my statement I would like to confirm my optimism for a bright future for Turkish-German economic and commercial cooperation and partnership.

Thank you for your attention.

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