Gül was speaking at a gala dinner held to honor the Turkey-World Trade Bridge meeting organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in İstanbul, where he addressed participants on the reflection of the active foreign policy of the Turkish government in economic relations. Noting that establishment of economic ties is one of the government's main focuses, he stressed the importance of the business world and establishment of economic relations since the beginning of the current government's term.
He said, “We take our businesspeople with us during our visits to different countries, and organize joint business meetings with the businesspeople in those countries to introduce them to each other, as well as promoting their cooperation.”
Emphasizing that Turkish ambassadors treat the investment of Turkish businesspeople as if it were the investment of the government, trying to help them as much as possible, Gül said ambassadors also look after the business ties of foreign investors in Turkey and facilitate procedures. “You as businesspeople are the closest witness to our efforts. If a large investment is to be made in a country, or an investor decided to make an investment in Turkey, our ambassadors give priority to the business ties and provide all necessary support,” he added.
The president pointed out the necessity of transportation infrastructure in improving economic activities, in particular the shift to air transportation among consumers. “Certainly sea and railroad transportation is used in forwarding freight to different countries, but air transportation is most crucial since businesspeople are required to visit countries to sign agreements and carry ties further,” he said, adding, “That is the reason we directed Turkish Airlines (THY) to transform their perspective and operate flights to as many destinations as they can.” Gül expressed his satisfaction that THY now has flights to almost all capitals in Africa and is the only foreign carrier that flies to Somalia as one of its 192 destinations in 89 countries. “İstanbul has become a central hub that connects many cities in the world, and in particular THY contributes majorly to Turkey’s foreign and economic policies,” he stated. Gül went on to imply that in recent years Turkey’s influence has grown and it has become a country whose actions are closely followed in the international arena thanks to its foreign policy. The president explained that commerce has been the main activity helping to connect people of different backgrounds and strengthening solidarity between nations throughout history. Noting that as part of the TUSKON organization visiting businessmen will find opportunities to travel to different parts of Turkey and have a chance to meet with people living in those places, Gül commented, “I hope you will leave Turkey with good impressions and with knowledge of the rich culture and history of Turkey.” Passing on a Turkish saying to the listeners -- “We paid a visit and made business at the same time” -- he said, “I would like you to both get to know us through this visit and conduct trade at the same time.”
Informing the audience that İstanbul, İzmir, Cairo and Beirut were centers for trade in Ottoman times, Gül said İstanbul has been regaining its status in recent years. “Commerce has been part of our culture. Hosting businessmen from around the world in İstanbul, where many hotels nowadays are filled with businessmen due to a rising number of meetings and conferences, is a pleasure on our part,” he stated.
Meanwhile the president emphasized that in order to help one another countries first needed to conduct trade, and then invest in each other’s economies. He noted that the difference between Turkish businesspeople and western investors is that Turkish businesspeople invest in the future of other nations, transferring technology and knowledge as well as generating new areas of employment, contrary to others nations that may take advantage of valuable resources and leave them with nothing to contribute to economic activity. The president stressed: “Instead of taking things we like to leave with good impressions at our backs. We promote among our businesspeople the creation of business relations in the framework of friendship and solidarity. We would like all businesspeople to join forces to benefit all countries.” At the end of the speech, TUSKON President Rızanur Meral noted that President Gül does not accept gifts, so he offered to provide an African student with a scholarship instead. Gül responded by requesting scholarships for 25 students, to which Meral agreed.