Do we want to draw foreign investments?
The cost to tourism alone from the Russian crisis has been calculated at $5 billion. With trucks being kept waiting at the border and with fruits and vegetables returned, the cost of the crisis for the first six months of 2016 was calculated by some economists at $7.2 billion.
In this case, Turkey needs to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) now more than any other time.
How can Turkey do this?
The U.K. Trade and Investment (UKTI) Turkey representative invited us to London to visit Turkish investment companies there. I had this question in my mind all throughout the visit.
The success of the U.K. in this matter is remarkable.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2015 World Investment Report, the U.K. is the second in the world and first in Europe in terms of FDI. The report showed that the total FDI the U.K. had drawn in 2014 was $72.2 billion, including Turkey’s Ülker and Yıldız Holding’s investment of 2 billion pounds in United Biscuits.
For comparison purposes, total direct investment Turkey drew in 2014 was around $12 billion.
However, the U.K. did not stop there. It started the GREAT campaign to offer the world all the attractive trade and investment opportunities in the U.K. The campaign started before the 2012 Olympic Games and covered finance, technology, tourism, education, arts, sports and energy.
Clare Barnfather, the head of the GREAT campaign, held a meeting at the U.K. Prime Ministry’s office at No 10. Downing Street. She said they launched the campaign because they wanted the U.K. to be more visible and more proactive, thereby refreshing its image. She said the campaign would continue for five more years.
This first campaign sponsored by a government set an example for countries such as France and Brazil.
If we go back to the UKTI, this institution has been active for many years by drawing high-quality investments, strengthening exports and investments and enabling British companies to reach commercial opportunities in the world.
The paths of companies such as Beko Arçelik that we toured in London and its vicinities have somehow crossed with the UKTI.
The real success story in Turkey, the Silk&Cashmire brand’s shop at Portobello, is almost a “turnkey” project of the UKTI.
What I can call the Turkish equivalent of the UKTI is the Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency which was founded in 2007.
This agency was first headed by Alpaslan Korkmas, then İlker Aycı and now Arda Ermut is at the wheel.
Ermut was known to be a classmate of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan from Kartal İmam High School and he has been working in the agency since it was founded.
This agency has changed chairs three times in less than 10 years. Apart from that, we have not heard it launch a vast campaign such as GREAT. If Turkey wants to draw the FDI it needs so much, it has to take a campaign like GREAT as an example.