Qatar, Turkey must own and patent technology: Turkish Minister
March 10 2018 08:36 PM
Nihat Zeybekçi
Nihat Zeybekçi was the chief guest at the gala dinner, held as part of the rebranding of Alternatif Bank at the Four Seasons Bosphorus in Istanbul on March 6.

Qatar and Turkey must strive to be the “owners of technology, know-how and patents” and not their consumers, said Turkey’s minister for economy Nihat Zeybekçi.

“We cannot be passive countries…we cannot be countries that only consume knowledge. This is not our target,” said Zeybekçi, who was the chief guest at the gala dinner, held as part of the rebranding of Alternatif Bank at the Four Seasons Bosphorus in Istanbul on March 6.
Turkey’s ABank, which became a 100% subsidiary of Qatar’s Commercial Bank in end-2016, has acquired a new brand identity and will continue its operations as Alternatif Bank.
Zeybekçi said the bilateral trade between Turkey and Qatar would grow significantly in the coming years.
“Our trade volume grew by more than 50% last year and this will grow even further in the coming year. Our trade volume in excess of $1.7bn does not reflect the full potential of our two countries,” Zeybekçi said.
He said Turkey and Qatar have different areas of strength and complement one another, completely.
“Even if we operate in the same sector, we are not competitors. Our two countries complement one another. One country has many things the other does not have. That’s why we combine all these and carry our partnership to a strategic level.”
Zeybekçi strongly suggested that Turkey and Qatar should “cooperate, partner and undertake many projects in the region and beyond.”
Complimenting Commercial Bank Group for the rebranding of Alternatif Bank, the minister said, “I am sure Alternatif Bank will make the best use of the investment potential in Turkey, especially in the private sector.”
Under Turkey’s Investment Incentive Programme, the private sector investments attract lots of incentives now. 
“Last year, private sector investments have increased more than 80% compared to 2016.”
Driven by exports, Turkey’s economy is poised for another year of robust growth in 2018, Zeybekçi pointed out.
“Already in January and February of this year, our exports have grown by 17% and 14% respectively. Our exports are growing rapidly, and therefore, our capacity utilisation rates have reached more than 80%. This means, as of now, we don’t have much room for development on the production side. We see more investments going into the production sector in the coming years,” the minister stressed.
He emphasised that Turkey would remain the “fastest growing” country in Europe for many years to come. 
“In 2017, we were the top among OECD and G20 countries. Last year, we grew by more than 7% and our exports have grown by more than 10%. And the forecast for 2018 is very positive.”
He recalled the “strong cooperation” between Turkey and Qatar and said the “friendship” between the two countries had “grown tremendously” in the last 10 to 15 years.
“Our friendship is based on a ‘win-win’ principle. If only one wins, the relationship will not be sustainable. In Turkey, we care about winning together and achieving huge gains in our cooperation and relationship with Qatar.
“Through ventures such as Alternatif Bank, we believe our cooperation will improve further,” Zeybekçi said.
The minister, however, reminded that “we live in a challenging geography despite being blessed with vast natural resources.”
“Because we are blessed with such huge natural resources, we should have only growth and sustainable development. Unfortunately, we have to confront wars and problems such as poverty. To achieve greater growth, we need to eradicate these,” Zeybekçi emphasised.
Terming the blockade (by a quartet of Arab countries) on Qatar “unfair”, the Turkish minister said, “We are against all injustices. That’s why we stood against the unfair sanctions against Qatar. Before our Qatari brothers reached out to us, we reached out to them that very night. By next day noon, we were already in Qatar. We told our Qatari brothers, they have their Turkish brothers and sisters by their side.
“We were there with more than 300 cargo planes. May be this was the largest such operations in the world.”

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