“Turkey and UK can cooperate in fintech”

Dünya Executive - - BUSINESS - DIDEM ERYAR UNLU

The United Kingdom is parting ways with the European Union on March 21 next year. As a global center for finance and technology, the country’s relations with non-EU countries will become even more important in the weeks and months that follow. Today, finance and profession­al services represent about 12 percent of the UK’s GDP. Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London, the 690th occupant of an office dating back hundreds of years, is the leader of the financial district of London’s “Square Mile”. He is now visiting 30 different countries before Brexit to strengthen the UK’s ties with nonEU markets as an ambassador for the financial and profession­al services sectors. Turkey is one of these countries. Trade between Turkey and the UK countries has grown beyond all expectatio­ns and last year’s total import and export figures exceeded £18 billion, which is well above the $20 billion target set by President Erdogan and Prime Minister May in January 2017.

Here are some of h s v ews:

“We know very well what our strategic markets are. This is therefore not a coincidenc­e for me to be in Turkey. The people I spoke to honestly have said that Turkey is going through a difficult period. But I have absolute confidence in Turkey because the foundation­s of this country have always been firm. Turkey regionally is at a very important location and will continue to be such. Developing our relationsh­ips within the scope of our mutual interests in the field of profession­al financial services is at the top of our agenda.”

Relat ons to deepen n the com ng years

“I was looking forward to visiting the City of London’s long-term strategic partner, Turkey, since I took this seat last year. The United Kingdom and Turkey already have very strong commercial relationsh­ips. Our business relations will grow deeper in the coming years. There is a very common ground between Turkey and the United Kingdom. Both countries have been dealing with trade for thousands of years and know this very well. In the United Kingdom, we offer capital and experience in the areas you need. We aim to achieve win-win cooperatio­n for both par- ties. Infrastruc­ture, Islamic finance, financial technologi­es and asset management are among the topics we focus on. In fact, instead of saying finance technologi­es, I want to give priority to technology. Today, technology is reshaping all sectors. Finance is just one of these sectors.”

165 Turk sh technology start-ups operate n London

“We held important meetings and discussion­s about the financial technologi­es sector. You have a young, innovative and dynamic population. I think there will be very important business opportunit­ies in technology. Today there are 165 Turkish technology start-ups operating in London. London offers a number of advantages, including legal regulation­s, clustering and ecosystem opportunit­ies, and ease of access to national and internatio­nal markets. Above all, it is considered as the center of ‘creative energy.’”

Green bank ng and Islam c f nance to r se

“We launched the green finance initiative within the City of Lon- don in 2016. We have conducted important studies with China on this issue. It is very important that the infrastruc­ture investment­s required by Africa are implemente­d by sustainabl­e projects. On the other hand, Islamic finance also offers great opportunit­ies globally. Technologi­cal developmen­ts will enable these two areas to develop faster. There are important opportunit­ies for Islamic finance to turn to green investment­s. Turkey offers a huge growth potential for Islamic finance. London’s experience in Islamic finance can be useful for Turkey. “

“In making Turkey, and especially Istanbul, a home to developing the fintech community, Turkish government said they are aiming to be the first country that operates with fully electronic payments as of 2023. This is an extremely bold target. But when we consider Turkey’s young population that closely follows technology, prevalence of card payments and increasing amount of investment­s, we see that they have all the ingredient­s they need to achieve these goals.”

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