Posted by meb at July 27th, 2009

Turkey is making an effort to boost relations with the United Arab Emirates.

The Turkish ambassador to the UAE, Hakkı Akil, told the Anatolia news agency correspondent on Sunday that there had been great progress in military, economic and cultural relations between the two countries in the past seven years.

“Between 2002 and 2009, our country’s foreign trade volume rose 800 percent. Today it is worth $9 billion. United Arab Emirates is the third largest exporter for Turkey. Our business volume has also been enlarging non-stop. Turkish companies assumed projects worth $5.3 billion dollars in this country during the past three years,” he said.

Business volume between the two countries will continue to increase in the upcoming years, said Akil. These improved relations will not be just economy related, he said. Within the framework of memorandum of understanding signed by both countries, Middle East Technical University and Istanbul technical University are going to establish campuses in Abu Dhabi, the capital and the second largest city in the UAE, he said.

Global turmoil is the biggest bump in front of investments, according to Zeki Burgucu, chairman of the Dubai Turkish Business Council. The relations between the two countries can be considered to be in a crawling stage, he said. “Both countries have just started to get to know one another. Dubai started to eye Turkey within the past two years or so. So it is fairly new. Therefore, it would be impossible to say that there has been a great development. However, we expect to see some serious development in the near future.”

Turkish TV shows

The entrance of Turkish TV shows and movies to the UAE market has benefited Turkey, said Burgucu. “Thanks to these shows families got closer. They have also helped significantly revive the tourism sector. As people begin to set closer ties with one another, certainly the business ties improve as well.”

The construction of skyscrapers, business centers and giant apartment complexes in the UAE continues at full speed despite the global economic crisis. Turkish construction companies have also put their signature on many buildings in the region. Yüksel Construction, which was established in 1963 in Ankara, is one of those companies.

“People here have much respect for Turkey. They are very helpful once they hear you are Turkish. A lot of Turkish construction companies and investors have been pouring into the region for the past few years,” said Tahsin Bakal, Yüksel Construction’s general manager for its Dubai office.

“The crisis has dampened the business a bit. But this really is a great market for Turkish companies,” he said. “Certainly things are not the same after the global turmoil and it would probably taker a year or two to get back to the way things were. Dubai needs to regain investors’ confidence.”
source: Hurriyet daily news