Turkish Cargo Gala Dinner Speech

Peyami Kalyoncu 12.12.2019

Distinguished guests,

First of all, I would like to congratulate Turkish Cargo for organizing this annual gala dinner.

Turkish Cargo, with its regional headquarters located in Hong Kong, is one of the biggest Turkish investment in Hong Kong. Such a strong presence is constantly praised by both the public and private sector here.

Since previous speakers have already touched upon in detail Turkey’s achievements in the civil aviation sector in general and air cargo in particular, as well as the new Istanbul Airport, which will make the city not only a global hub for passengers, but also for air cargo goods. Against this background, please allow me to provide a synopsis of Turkey’s economy. Despite immense economic, political, as well as regional and international challenges, since early 2000s Turkey has attained very significant achievements in all fields. Turkey’s GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Parties reached 27.000 US$, and the overall GDP in PPP reached 2,3 trillion Dollars, and 800 billion US$ in nominal terms. Turkey is among the 20 biggest economies in the world in nominal terms, which also makes Turkey a member of the G-20. Turkey is the 13th largest economy in the world and 5th largest in Europe in terms of purchasing power parity. Turkey’s GDP is expected to surpass 1 trillion Dollars in nominal terms in the next 2 years.

In terms of trade, latest figures demonstrate that, Turkey’s external trade volume will keep growing this year in spite of the challenges posed by the trade wars and increasing protectionism. Turkey’s exports during the first 11 months of this year have reached 165 billion Dollars, 1,77% increase compared to the same period last year. Total export volume this year is expected to reach 180 billion US$. Please keep in mind that Turkey is not a re-export economy and almost all of the goods and services exported by Turkey is manufactured or generated in Turkey. Total imports this year would be around 210 billion US$, making the total foreign trade volume almost 400 billion US$.

In this context, let me mention Turkey’s trade volume with Hong Kong, which is currently only at the level of almost 1,8 billion US$. We strongly believe that, given the advantages of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong and mainland China’s CEPA agreements and through the modern Silk Road, Road and Belt and the Greater Bay Area initiatives, there is a very strong potential to further strengthen the economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Hong Kong. Our region has a central place at the crossroads of important transport corridors with 600 billion USD trade flow between China and Europe. Turkey has recently announced a new initiative aiming at improving our relations with the Asian continent in a planned and focused manner. Asia is quickly becoming the economic center of the world. This new initiative is called: “Asia Anew.” Turkey is committed to further develop her relations in the region in all fields including education, investments, trade, technology and culture.

You might easily remember from recent news that a freight train leaving Xian has passed through Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route realized by the tripartite cooperation among Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Said cargo train arrived in Istanbul in 12 days, went undersea below the most beautiful waterway in the world, the Strait of Istanbul via Marmaray line and reached the heart of Europe in 17 days. All these new routes and links, including strong air cargo links between our continents and economies will help further develop a balanced, fair and sustainable economic and trade relations.

Nevertheless, one of the main prerequisites of fostering these relations is not only strengthening air cargo links, which I believe is crucial, but also increasing human-to-human interaction. This interaction could only enhance with more direct flights between Hong Kong and Turkish cities, primarily Istanbul. Currently Turkish Airlines flies 6 days a week, and I know, since long they are very keen to increase the number of their flights at least to 7 days a week, thus flying daily. We have been raising this matter with our counterparts here, but I also kindly urge all of you, all the Hong Kong business people to demand more flights between Turkey and Hong Kong, which will pave the way for further developing our economic and trade relations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Another important indicator of Turkey’s economic success during the last 17 years is the level of foreign direct investment flowing towards Turkey. As a secular and functioning democracy based on the rule of law, free elections and respect for human rights, Turkey above all represents, and promotes universal values. Turkey carefully and responsibly acts to contribute to peace, stability and welfare in its region and beyond. Turkey's impressive growth performance and structural reforms implemented over the past decade have landed it on the radar of many international investors. Turkey has a strong economy and dynamic society today. But still one might ask why I should invest in Turkey? Turkey’s robust and steadily growing economy, large domestic and regional markets, strategic location, favorable demographics (median age 32), skilled and cost-competitive labor force, continuous reforms, liberal investment climate and lucrative investment incentives (tailored and comprehensive), advantageous R&D ecosystem and sectoral opportunities (diversified economy in many sectors) are the shortest answers to this question. According to EY Attractiveness Survey Europe, Turkey became the 7th most popular FDI destination in Europe in 2018. Our country was home to 261 projects, up 14 percent year-on- year, and enjoyed a 4 percent share in all FDI projects across Europe.​​ Up until 2002, total FDI into Turkey stood only at USD 15 billion while the country has since attracted around USD 209 billion of FDI during the 2003-2018 period.​

In this respect, we also hope to further increase the FDI stock of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese companies in Turkey, which are currently at 400 million USD and 2 billion-dollars, respectively. We aim at adding new investors to the current 91 Hong Kong-based and 929 mainland China-based companies operating in Turkey. Both in terms of value, as well as the diversity of sectors, these numbers are destined to grow further.

Before finishing my words, please allow me to extend once again my congratulations and gratitude to Turkish Airlines Cargo for organizing this Gala Dinner and wish everyone in this room a happy new year, as well as peace, prosperity and quality time with families and beloved ones for the upcoming holiday season.

Thank you.


Ahmet Peyami Kalyoncu Consul General
Monday - Friday

09:30 - 13:00 / 14:00 - 17:30

Submission of Documents: 09.30-12.30
1/1/2021 1/1/2021 New Year's Day
2/12/2021 2/15/2021 The first and fourth day of Lunar New Year
4/2/2021 4/2/2021 Good Friday
4/5/2021 4/5/2021 The day following Ching Ming Festival
4/6/2021 4/6/2021 The day following Easter Monday
5/1/2021 5/1/2021 Labour Day
5/19/2021 5/19/2021 Birthday of the Buddha
6/14/2021 6/14/2021 Tuen Ng Festival
7/1/2021 7/1/2021 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
9/22/2021 9/22/2021 The Day Following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
10/1/2021 10/1/2021 National Day of PRC
10/14/2021 10/14/2021 The day following Chung Yeung Festival
10/29/2021 10/29/2021 National Day of the Republic of Turkey
12/27/2021 12/27/2021 The first weekday after Christmas Day