It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all at perhaps the First Symposium of Turkish Companies in Kuwait being organized at a Commercial Level. The initiative and decision for such a gathering though was taken by both His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and His Excellency the Turkish President Abdullah Gul during President Gul’s visit to Kuwait in December, 2009. We would like to express our gratitude to both of them for making such a business event possible today.
We would also like to express our appreciation to Mr. Alpaslan Korkomaz for his continuous efforts since December to organize the visit of the leading Turkish Contractors and Companies to Kuwait. Without Mr Korkomaz’s efforts, the gathering today may not have been possible.
I am glad and honored that National Bank of Kuwait has been given the unique mandate and opportunity to host this Symposium. As a leading bank in Kuwait and the Middle East, we have always attempted to promote relationships and trade flows between Kuwait and other countries in the region. As a matter of fact this has over the years been our business model and the reason of our extraordinary success and standing in the market place today.
The growing relationship between Turkey and Kuwait and the importance of this relationships are evident from the fact that President Gul’s visit to Kuwait in December, 2009 was the first by a Turkish President in the last 12 years. Under President Gul’s leadership, we are beginning to see Turkey play a strategic political and economic role in the region. Also, internally in Turkey with changing economic landscape and reforms, there is growing interest and investment from Kuwait and other Gulf countries into Turkey.
Kuwait also is on the cross roads today. After years of rather lethargic growth and activities, Kuwait is poised to bounce back with ambitious plans to be a regional financial and commercial hub. The coming five years are expected to be most active. The five year plan starting 2010 includes USD 83 Billion of projects in the Oil and Gas sector and USD 120 Billion of projects in the Civil and Infrastructure sector. Turkish companies stand to benefit by participating in these projects and we are here today to facilitate this.
Over the coming two days, my colleagues from National Bank of Kuwait will introduce you to “Doing Business in Kuwait” and present to you the various opportunities that Kuwait presents to Turkish Contractors. We have also arranged presentations by various governmental organizations and Ministries, who will talk about these projects in their respective fields. We hope you will be able to benefit from all of these.
National Bank of Kuwait also has a long history of relationship with Turkey. I recall the early 80’s when we used to lead oil financings for Tupras. Our presence in Turkey today both through the Turkish Bank and our Investment Banking Subsidiary NBK Capital is evidence of our close ties and interest in Turkey. We look forward to the next two days wherein we hope that both sides will mutually benefit and set the stage for long term partnership.
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