With a delegation of 19 prominent Turkish businessmen currently visiting the countryTurks seek investment opportunities in Yemen [Archives:2006/965/Reportage]

July 20 2006
His Excellency Ambassador Tourpil Ouzcarol.
His Excellency Ambassador Tourpil Ouzcarol.
Yemen-Turkey relations have developed rapidly in the past few years. There has been an unprecedented number of Turkish and Yemeni delegations exchanging visits and exploring means to enhance ties between the two Muslim countries.

As part of its role to enhance those relations, the Turkish International Schools have organized a conference on Monday including a hosted delegation of 19 Turkish businessmen representing various industries from across Turkey and Yemeni businessmen involved in consolidating economic ties between the two countries.

The Yemeni-Turkish Businessmen Conference has enhanced the Yemeni-Turkish trade and investment relationship even further. The total for Turkish investments has reached US$750 million so far, most significantly in the constructions industry, which has received over US$500 million for investment in hotels, residential projects and shopping malls.

His Excellency the Ambassador of Turkey Mr. Turel zkaro said that the political, social and economic ties between Turkey and Yemen are excellent, facilitating further trade and investment between the two countries. According to the ambassador, this indicates that the legal framework, along with the support of both governments, has enabled the efforts undertaken by businessmen to expand their operations between the two countries.

The Turkish delegation will also visit the Aden Free Zone which is attracting the bulk of Turkish and international investments, including the Turkish International Schools which has established a fully-fledged campus in Aden, which is due to open in time for the next academic year.

The conference has witnessed a number of meetings between Yemeni and Turkish businessmen who were present at the conference, which is considered to be the fourth in a series of regular meetings for Yemeni and Turkish Businessmen.

On the business visit, the head of the Turkish delegation Mr. H. Ahmet kmen of IKTISAD, the Istanbul Business Association, said he was overwhelmed by the hospitality that the delegation received and expressed his appreciation to the warmth and support Yemeni businessmen have shown since the delegation arrived last week.

He reiterated that the mission of the delegation is to study and examine the business environment in the country and discuss potential projects and investment opportunities with Yemeni counterpart. “Even though we are 19 Turkish businessmen, yet we are here to represent TUSIAD, which is a business association with about 10,000 members.” kmen said.

Even though kmen did not identify a specific timeframe for actual businesses to start on the ground, he said he predicted that with the ongoing pace, in a period of 2 to 10 years, Turkey may well be the largest business partner of Yemen.

“We have concluded that the political, economic, and social relations between the two countries are heading in the rid direction. From what I can see, Yemenis are looking forward to positive economic collaboration with businessmen from Turkey, and this is what we will convey to the upcoming TUSIAD assembly next month.”

Okmen noted that TUSIAD had already expressed interest in starting direct trade talks with Yemeni businessmen and the visit of Yemeni businessmen about two months ago to Turkey was triggered by this belief.

Meanwhile, another Turkish delegate member Cuma Kilic, who represents AKTISAD the business association representing Konya, expressed his hopes in starting actual projects in the near future particularly in the fields that Turks are good at, which includes textile, food, and other light industries. Kilic said that he represented about 660 members in AKTISAD keen to know more about business opportunities in Yemen. “Since about 24 Yemeni businessmen visited AKTISAD and were hosted for 2 days in Konya, Turkish businessmen from the city had started developing a connection with Yemen and are eager to start real businesses in your country.” Kilic said.

“What makes us even more excited is the fact that Turks in Konya share very similar attributes to Yemenis as both peoples are conservative, peaceful and hospitable.” he said.

“I'm sure we will get along together quite well.”

The Turkish International Schools (TIS), which was the body that organized the event, were quite enthusiastic by the response from the Turkish business community. The schools General Manager in Yemen, Faruk Yanik, who ends his term this year, expressed his relief for successfully concluding the conference by the end of his 10-year term as the GM of TIS in Yemen.

“I feel satisfied and emotional seeing Turks and Yemenis getting together for the good of both sides.” he said, adding that this was “the thing that kept me waiting before I officially end my term and leave the country for good.”

TIS, whose role has been instrumental in the last 10 years in driving Turkish-Yemeni relations to unprecedented level, will remain fully committed to its role in enhancing the relations between the two countries, Yanik unveiled.

Bidding farewell to Yemen, Yanik expressed hope in that the new management of TIS will continue to do all it can to push the wheel because “once the wheel starts rolling, then things will be easier from that point onwards.” Yanik noted.

Yanik said he felt Turkish businessmen needed to know more about Yemen's potentials in the trade and business arena. “The country has incredible wealth in fruits, vegetables, many other fields. I'm sure if Turkish businessmen learned about those potentials, they would come flocking to do business with this brotherly country.” he noted.

The departing GM stressed however that since the new Turkish ambassador to Yemen, Mr. Turel zkaro arrived to the country, the level of cooperation between Yemen and Turkey enhanced on all political and economic scopes. “I can't thank His Excellency the Ambassador for what he's done to facilitate and encourage those activities and I believe he will continue supporting the TIS initiatives further.” he added.

On a final note, Yanik, who has been appointed to represent Turkish schools in Saudi Arabia, thanked all Yemeni friends, businessmen, and all TIS employees for their 'invaluable role' in making TIS a successful enterprise and a leading role model in the country both as an educational institution and a means to improve and develop friendly and brotherly relations between Yemen and Turkey.