UK's Cameron: "Turkey's rapid economic growth makes it Europe's own bric"
Turkey is Europe's own rapidly expanding developing economy, British Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday. "Everyone is talking about BRIC countries and the rapid growth in [the group's] economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. We think that Turkey is a BRIC country of Europe," Cameron said in a written message to an important Turkish-UK business event organized by the Turkish-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TBCCI). Bringing together government officials and business experts seeking trade and investment opportunities, the three-day TBCCI forum also offers insights into business procedures in Turkey and the UK while providing a networking platform for Turkish and British business. In his message to the event's opening session, Cameron promoted the idea of greater bilateral investment and trade. Britain is the second-largest investor in Turkey, he said, with nearly 1,800 British companies operating in the country. Saying that the investments between Turkey and the UK should be increased, Cameron said both countries could also work to double the current bilateral trade volume of some $9 billion within the next five years. In 2008 trade between two countries was nearly $13.4 billion, but fell sharply due to the global economic crisis, said Mehmet Buyukeksi, head of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM). "Both countries should aim to increase trade volume to $20 billion in the near future," he said. Criticizing UK visa policy toward Turkish citizens as unfair, Buyukeksi said this policy also hurts trade, as it creates a "psychological barrier" for Turkish businesspeople. British Ambassador to Turkey David Reddaway said that Cameron had proven Turkey's importance by taking his first official trip as prime minister to the country in July. "We will support Turkey's membership to the European Union, and not just because of our goodwill but also (because) this serves the UK's interest as well," he said.