Dubai: The decision of the European Union not to admit Turkey into its fold has so far worked as a blessing in disguise, officials said at the Mena Economic Forum being held at the American University of Sharjah.
While most of the southern European countries have been struggling with unprecedented economic crisis, Turkey has been witnessing strong growth, thanks to its closer ties with the Middle East.
“Thank God, we are not part of the European Union,” said Bora Yildiz, Vice-President of Intro Group, a Turkish venture. “We are in a unique geographical position — close to the Middle East and Europe. While one is facing severe economic crisis and the other is creating opportunities. Because of this, we could manage to navigate through the global financial crisis and continue to grow.”
He said, Turkey is the world’s second fastest growing economy after China, with gross domestic products exceeding $775 billion. The World Bank has rated it among the upper income group.
Yahia Zoubir, Professor at Euromed Management, France, said, “Ten years ago, Turkey was struggling with falling currency. Many people might be analysing its balancing act between Islam and Democracy, but Turkey has managed its economic transition very well.”
Yildiz says Turkish companies are benefitting from opportunities in neighbouring Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. “Iraq is investing more than a trillion dollars in infrastructure, ports, highways, oil pipelines and oil and gas industries. It’s oil production is going to rise from 2 million barrels per day now to 8 million bpd by 2020 and 12 million bpd by 2030 — that’s the kind of economic opportunity we are talking about. Because of our education system and skills set, Turkish companies stand to benefit the most.”