International networking: On the heels of strengthening diplomatic ties between the two countries, the Turkey Luxembourg Business Club held its premiere event on Tuesday evening.
Photo: Luc Deflorenne
The Club was founded last autumn, timed with the opening of Luxembourg’s new embassy to Ankara. Indeed, Turkey’s ambassador to Luxembourg, Celalettin Kart, was on hand to lend his support to the new group.
Trade between Turkey and the Grand Duchy totaled 140 million euro in 2010 and is expected to top 500 million euro in the coming years, Zeynep Aslan, president of Turkey Luxembourg Business Club, said in her opening remarks. “In the age we live in, accurate information is the most important thing. The winners will be those who will have accurate information and who will act quickly. Our aim is to provide that accurate information to both parties, so the level of trade will rise to the figure we expect.”
Turkey is already the 17th largest economy in the world and the fastest growing one in the OECD, the club of mostly rich countries, noted keynote speaker Pinar Eczacibasi, chair of the Brussels branch of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board.
She said investors interested in the former Soviet Union, Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans should look at using Turkey as a hub, given its geographic location and historic ties with those regions. Eczacibasi also observed that Turkey has a large steel industry and growing automotive sector. For example, it is a Turkish design that is being used to overhaul New York City’s taxi fleet with Hyundai hybrid cabs, she reported.
Several panel members then attested to Turkey’s entrepreneurial dynamism, high educational standards, sophistication and gender equality in financial services, and warm attitude in welcoming international investors and visitors.
Those speakers were Edith Stein, head of international relations at the promotion agency Luxembourg for Finance; Mevlüde-Aysun Tokbag, director at the law firm Wildgen; Miriam Mascherin, managing director of specialty investment management firm Elite Advisors; Georges Weyer, senior relationship manager at Lombard International Assurance; Anja Grenner, associate director at E&Y Luxembourg; and Dirk Adriaenssens, head of private banking at ING Luxembourg.
More than 100 people attended the event, which was held at the Cercle Munster.