A cabinet member from British Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government has said he hopes the economic troubles the single currency eurozone is facing today will help those obstructing Turkey’s membership into the 27-nation European Union to change their minds.
“I hope this economic situation will have a positive effect on certain countries that are blocking Turkey’s entry [into the EU],” UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills John Vincent Cable was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency on Monday.
Before he departed for İstanbul for a four-day official visit on which 15 British businessmen will accompany him, the minister spoke to Anatolia in London and discussed how impressive Turkey’s economic achievements are to him and how difficult it is to understand that some major EU countries are still against the idea of having Turkey in the union. “Our respect for Turkey’s successes is huge. It is now probably the fastest-growing economy in the world. That was achieved through low inflation, political stability and a democratic government. All these factors make Turkey a highly impressive country,” Cable said.
Turkey started the official membership negotiations with the EU in late 2005 but those negotiations progressed at a snail’s pace, with talks in only one out of 35 negotiation chapters concluded. Most observers attribute the slow progress to the lack of political will on the part of the European Union. Certain EU member states, including Germany, France, Austria and Greek Cyprus, staunchly oppose the idea of Turkey’s membership, whereas the Scandinavian countries and most of the southern European countries as well as the UK support Turkey’s bid to join the 27-nation bloc.
Between 2002 and 2009, the Turkish gross domestic product (GDP) grew by almost 6 percent each year on average. Having contracted by 4.7 percent in 2009, with its labor market suffering serious consequences because of the global financial crisis triggered by the US credit crunch a year earlier, the Turkish economy swiftly rebounded in 2010 with 8.9 percent growth.
According to the latest available figures, Turkey’s domestic output has continued to expand substantially as the country became the world’s fastest growing economy in the first six months of this year with 10.2 percent growth. “There is a lot we can learn from Turkey,” the British minister noted, underlining that Turkey’s membership in the EU will contribute to the economic relations between the country and the UK.
An MP for the Liberal Democrat Party since 1997, Cable has held his current position in Cameron’s cabinet for over a year now. On the first day of his official visit, the minister met with Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Minister of Industry and Trade Nihat Ergün. He later attended the Turkey-UK Trade and Investment Forum organized by the Confederation of Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in İstanbul. Bringing leading Turkish and British businessmen together, the forum provided entrepreneurs from both sides a venue to discuss business opportunities in Turkey and the UK.
The trade volume between the two countries was nearly $13 billion in 2010 and both governments aim to double this amount by 2016.
26 September 2011, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL