Anvers Ticaret Odası yönetici ve üyelerine hitaben yapılan “TRADE AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN TURKEY” konulu konuşma.

N.Murat Ersavcı 02.02.2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank you for your kind invitation. I am indeed pleased to be here at the Antwerp Chamber of Commerce in the company of the foremost businessmen of the region.

Relations between Republic of Turkey and the Kingdom Belgium started in 1837 with the recognition of independent Belgium by the Ottoman Empire. Diplomatic relations were established in 1848. The visit paid by the Duke of Brabant, future King Leopold II of Belgium, to Istanbul in 1860 has brought a significant impetus to our relations which have been developing ever since.

Beginning from the 1840s, Belgian entrepreneurs, aware of the opportunities in the Ottoman Empire particularly on international trade, started to come and settle in Istanbul for purposes of investment. Thus our trade and economic relations go back to the first half of the nineteenth century and have been expanding since that time.

You may also know, both our countries are members of the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE, CICA and WTO. A sizeable Turkish community of more than 200.000 is well integrated to the Belgian society. In this respect, let me point out that there are quite a few elected representatives of Turkish origin in the Belgian federal and regional legislative assemblies, as well as doctors, teachers, engineers and artists.

Various organizations like the Turkish-Belgian Business Council were established in 1990’s, followed by numerous others. Their aim was to develop cooperation between the Turkish and the Belgian firms, especially in the field of construction, energy, industry and telecommunications, as well as promoting collaboration between Belgian and Turkish SME’s. (Council’s next meeting will be held in Brussels, in May 2011).