Speech By H.E. Abdullah Gül on the Occasion of “Turkish-Swiss Cleantech Forum”

Yazdır Paylaş Yazıları Büyült Yazıları Küçült

“Madame President,

Distinguished Guests,

It is a great pleasure for me to be here with you today. I would like to thank Cleantech Switzerland, Foreign Economic Relations Board and Swiss-Turkish Business Council for organizing the “Turkish-Swiss Cleantech Forum”.

I am confident that it will be a very useful platform to explore possibilities of cooperation between Turkey and Switzerland on such a crucial area like clean energy technologies. It will also boost business opportunities for investors from both countries and provide a valuable insight for the Swiss companies regarding the cleantech market in Turkey.

In fact, Switzerland had for so long a reputation for innovations in highly specialized products and knowledge-based services. It is especially true for the development and marketing of clean energy technologies. That is why, I believe very strongly in the value and innovative capacity of this forum.

Madame President,

Distinguished Guests,

As I said at the UN General Assembly last September, we must acknowledge that sustainable environment is an “indivisible global public good” for all humankind. Therefore, we must assume collective responsibility for preserving it. As Madame President and I emphasized in New York, not only the billions of lives today but also the lives of the future generations will be depending on the actions we take today.

In the face of global warming,   developing a new economy compatible with the eco-system has become a strategic necessity. Since most of the pollution emanates from the fossil fuels, we do not have any other option but resort more to the renewable energy resources by using innovative processes and technologies. 

Heydays of energy competition are over and now is the time to focus on sustainable energy security. The increased pace of globalization and the rise in global energy consumption necessitate institutionalized cooperation in this critical area. Yet, the challenges are many and effective responses are only a few.

In this context, I am pleased to see that one of the most promising prospects is developed in a friendly country, namely Switzerland. The work undertaken by Swiss scientists and energy companies are truly exemplary.

There are ample opportunities for Turkey and Switzerland to work together in this field, yet increasingly developing area. 

Distinguished Guests,

The road to a more secure, sustainable and economic energy depends heavily on increasing efficiency and widening the use of clean energy technologies.

In this context, renewable energy sources will have a central role to play. The potential is unquestionably large. But how quickly they can contribute to the world’s energy demand depends on our support to stimulate technological advances.

Our support for renewables can, in principle, be justified by the long-term economic, energy security and environmental gains they can bring. One shall not forget that support mechanisms have to be cost-effective as well. However, the greatest scope for increasing the use of renewables lies in the power sector.

Distinguished Guests,

Now, I would like to touch upon the recent developments in the Turkish economy and say a few words about our science, technology and energy policies. I believe which will encourage you to do more in Turkey.

As we all know, the majority of the emerging markets suffered a significant slowdown in their economic activities due to the global crisis.

Being an open and free-market economy, and integrated fully with the global economic and financial system, Turkey was no exception.

Despite all those setbacks, Turkish economy has shown resilience and strength in the face of the global downturn. There were no bank bailouts or financial defaults in Turkey.  

To the contrary, Turkey was the only country to increase its credit rating twice during the global economic crisis. Now, the risk premium of Turkey is lower than that of Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal.

Turkish economy is the 16th biggest in the world, the 6th in Europe and is described by many as the BRIC of Europe.

Turkish economy has grown by 11% in the first half of 2010, which makes Turkey the fastest growing economy among the OECD countries. We hope to reach a GNP threshold of 1 trillion Dollars towards the end of this year. 

We aim to be among the top 10 economies in the world by the year 2023, when we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.

Distinguished Guests,

Turkey’s development policy also involves a qualitative element. As we all know, science and technology are key elements for nations who aspire for a better future.  To that end, Turkey has made great strides towards becoming a knowledge based economy in recent years.

Research and Development expenditures have increased by 250% between 1998 and 2008, which has almost quadrupled the OECD and EU27 averages. During the same period, the number of international patent applications have increased by 325%.

Moreover, now we have 156 universities in Turkey.  Forty nine of them have been opened since 2006.

In a nutshell, these statistics suggest that we have been heavily investing in education, science and technology to develop a knowledge based economy in Turkey.

Against this background, I should add that we attach particular importance to the issues of sustainable environment and energy efficiency in our Research and Development efforts.

Over the last decade, Turkey’s industrialization effort has gained a fresh impetus. Industrial manufacturing is on the rise and energy demand is constantly increasing.

Therefore, the challenge before Turkey is to set a fine balance between its sustainable development objectives and the growing energy demand through improved efficiency and increased share of renewable energy.

As a matter of fact, we are planning to invest at least hundred million dollars in these coming few years in energy. So, therefore, I would like to draw your attention particularly in this field. Turkish economy will continue to grow, because all the fundemantals of the economy is fine, economic reforms, political and democratic reforms are taking place  hand in hand at least became Turkey very much predictable. So, therefore, what we are saying here that Turkey will grow is not just the wish, all the financial instutions, all the banks, if you go through their reports, they are also saying the same things. So, therefore, when Turkey’s economy continue to grow, our demand will be definitely more. So therefore, this is a priority area for us to invest all the companies are invited to show interest in fact. In the morning, we talked in detail about this. I do not want to go more, just I wanted to remind this also to the people here.

Renewable energy supply in Turkey is dominated by hydropower. The share of wind is limited but expected to increase. Electricity generation from renewables was around 20% in 2008.

The share of renewable energy is already high when compared with the EU countries. Our main objective is to increase that share to 30% of total electricity production.

To be more concrete, we aim to build 20.000 MegaWatt installed capacity for wind energy and 600 MegaWatt installed capacity for geothermal energy. With regards to hydropower, the whole economically useable potential is to be installed by 2023.

Our minister in charge of water management, climate change and environment in fact he is the professor in this field. I am sure that you will be able to pass all your knowledge and your experiences to the friends here.

Herein falls an important responsibility for both the public and private sectors to invest in Research and Development for cleaner energy technologies.

As you all know, Cleantech is a brand-new sector which aims to deal with the social, economic and ecological challenges of the 21st century.

With an ever growing energy demand, Turkey has everything to gain and nothing to lose in employing cleaner energy technologies. The experience and expertise developed by the Swiss companies over the years would be a very valuable input for the energy market in Turkey.

Turkey is aware of its global responsibility to deal with the twin challenges of climate change and energy security. We indeed have a strong will to diversify our energy sources which would help alleviate many economic, social and ecological problems. There will be a meeting in Mexico next month. So,  our minister is going to explain our position. I participated in Copenhagen Summit. It was very controversial there and still the countries, they did not come to the same point. And still the countries, they are very much interested in their national priorites maybe they are right, but still we do not have a common policy in the world. We have also different position. We are going to explain all these in Mexico in coming month.

Distinguished Guests,

To conclude, let me reiterate that our goal is to overcome the global challenges in the area of energy and climate change. As we always did throughout history, we once again turn to technology to solve such grave problems.

The work of yours here in Switzerland is on the right direction, promising and needs to be supported. That is why we are together, two presidents, we are here. I am sure many of you know this is the first presidential visit from Turkey to this country. My dear friend, she said me that during this visit “why don’t we have this meeting?” To show our interest and to show the people that we are really promoting all these efforts. That’s why we are here. So therefore we very much value your work here , your effort here. And I am sure that there will be good results out of these meetings.  

The work of yours here in Switzerland is on the right direction, as I said, promising and needs to be supported. We, as Turkey, carry a strong resolve to develop clean technologies for energy generation. If we work together, I am sure that we can develop solutions that would be mutually beneficial to our countries. Therefore, my message to you is “come to Turkey and see for yourselves how huge the potential for clean technologies is”. Get the first-hand information there.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank once again Cleantech Switzerland, Foreign Economic Relations Board and Swiss-Turkish Business Council for organizing this forum and wish them all the success in their valuable work.

Thank you very much.”

Yazdır Paylaş Yukarı