By Tayfun Salci
LONDON (AA) – London wants to be a partner of growth in Turkey's business sector, said Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency prior to visiting Turkey, Bowman said that is the main objective of his visit.
The UK and Turkey have strong trade relations and achieved a trade level of $20 billion in 2017, he said.
Bowman said he is excited about visiting Turkey this week and has five objectives during the visit.
They include providing reassurance that in the context of Brexit, London and UK financial and professional services will remain preeminent and to enhance the strong ties between Turkey and the UK built over a number of years.
Bowman said the other objectives are to develop, harness and leverage bilateral opportunities in trade, investment and business, innovation in financial and professional services and engaging with Turkish communities and businesses with relation to the Business In Trust – a program run by the Lord Mayor of London.
Underlining that as Lord Mayor of London, he is acting as the UK’s principal spokesperson for and on behalf of the UK’s financial and professional services, Bowman said those services employ 2.3 million people across the country.
“The sector is home to and houses 250 banks within London itself, more than any other international financial center. It [London] is a national, European and international jewel,” he said.
And in that capacity, Bowman said, he has visited 30 countries and is “very excited” about visiting Turkey this week.
– Strong relationship
Bowman said he is visiting Istanbul as the head of a business delegation, adding the bilateral trade target between the two countries had been set at $20 billion in 2017.
“I am delighted to say that it was achieved, and more,” he said.
“We have a strong relationship with Turkey built over a number of years. And this visit… there is no sense of accident behind the fact that we are traveling to Turkey. We scheduled early in my year, and I am really looking forward to leveraging, developing and harnessing those opportunities to further grow what is already a strong relationship.”
Bowman said he is keen to discuss UK-Turkey business relations with senior government and business representatives in Istanbul, particularly focusing on how the UK and Turkey can partner to spur mutual growth.
“Of particular interest are the fields of infrastructure and Islamic Finance, FinTech and asset management,” he added.
“The Lord Mayor is expected to speak at Deloitte’s ‘Doing Business with the UK’ conference, where he will talk about the strength of the City of London and opportunities for UK-Turkey collaboration,” a statement on his Turkey visit said.