Relations between Turkey and Finland are excellent. This includes our economic relations, too. Today’s globalization means a greater interdependence between economies worldwide. The recent events in financial markets have provided a striking example of this. Good partners are, therefore, very important.
Trade is growing rapidly between our two countries – currently the volume of trade is over one billion euros in a year. It is worth noting that the bilateral trade has doubled since 2002.
Turkey is an attractive investment destination and trade partner for Finnish companies. The economic growth and reform policies have increased the interest towards your country. In addition, Turkey's geographical location provides wider opportunities in the region.
Finland supports Turkey's EU accession process. This process has also contributed to improved predictability of the Turkish business environment. It is essential that you continue to show strong commitment to reforms in the economic field as well as in other sectors of life. It is important for the well-being of your own citizens, in general, and in order to strengthen the economy. Within the European Union, Finland underlines the importance of keeping the existing commitments of the Union and applying democratically the same criteria for all candidates.
We congratulate you that, in September, the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed that Turkey would become a Country of Operations of the Bank.
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And what about Finland? Our country is often referred to as one of the most open and competitive economies in the world. Finland has also become known as one of the world’s least corrupt state and for its transparent and well-functioning administration. I truly believe that good governance, respect for human rights and a strong sense of social responsibility are vital elements for political stability and for competitiveness, too. I would encourage Turkish companies to examine further what our country has to offer as an investment destination. I believe that we are worth it.
I would like to thank the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board, DEIK, and the Confederation of Finnish Industries, EK, for organising this Business Forum on the occasion of the official visit to Finland of my colleague, President Gül.
I wish you very innovative and fruitful discussions today, and successful cooperation in the future!