I have just returned from a visit to Turkey to engage with government officials and industry leaders in discussions about the mutually-beneficial partnership to be had between Turkey and the City of London and the UK as a whole.
Turkey’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games already offers a clear area where we can help by putting our expertise from London 2012 – in finance, in consultancy and design, in the whole lifecycle of infrastructure products – at the disposal of our Turkish partners. We are also keen to use the resources and expertise of the City of London as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre to partner and support Istanbul’s own development – and we have a plan for doing so, especially through the excellent work of TheCityUK. We have seen huge advances in the partnership in developing Istanbul’s own capacity as a financial centre over the last year, as set out clearly in the excellent East Meets West report from TheCityUK and Mondo Visione, which I presented to Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan earlier this week.
The City of London provides the whole range of services and expertise of a global financial centre – and one that has proved able to attract international business, and is the springboard to European and international markets. We want to partner with the leading emerging financial centres – such as Istanbul – to develop their own capacity and expertise. The aim is to create prosperity, stability and security for both countries – and increased trade volumes.
The progress made is clear. Turkey has a well regulated financial services industry, with a well-developed market in consumer banking and a young and highly motivated workforce. It has attracted $120bn of foreign direct investment since 2003 – a quantum leap from the $15bn in the preceding three decades.
But challenges remain. Above all, in continuing to create the stability, predictability and clarity that will attract international business and investors. London has great buildings and people – but above all it has the right legal framework and the right regulatory structures to attract international business. The Turkish Government has a clear plan in place to create the prerequisites of an international financial centre: of putting in place the right physical infrastructure; diversity of products and services – and people; but above all in putting in establishing the right tax, legal and regulatory framework.
The City of London, and TheCityUK in particular, will continue to work even more closely with our Turkish partners as Istanbul, through its vibrancy, dynamism and drive, develops as as a financial centre – and as Turkey continues to develop as an economic force.