Turkish Business Cowboys in the U.S.


By Simay Özlü Diniz | 03 October 2010



Zafer Caglayan, the state minister for foreign trade of the Republic of Turkey, visited the United States with the ambition of improving Turkish-American economic cooperation and promote Turkey’s research and development incentives to the world. Beginning on July 17, Caglayan toured Texas, Illinois, Georgia, California and New York for a week to find out ways to enhance trade with the United States. This article not only aims to applaud the minister’s achievements but also to touch upon the policies of the current Turkish government AKP.

Mehmet Zafer Caglayan is the Minister of Turkey and Member of Parliament of the current government AKP that has been in power since 2007. Caglayan was graduated in mechanical engineering from Gazi University in Ankara in 1980 and pursued his career in the aluminium industry. Before his appointment as the Minister, he was the president of the Ankara Chamber of Industry and the vice-president of the The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey. He worked for structural and micro-economic reforms and engaged in lobbying activities. He is the president of two companies Akel Alüminyum A.S and Caglayanlar Alüminyum Limited. The minister’s dynamic character resulting from his business background and his friendly personality is influential in establishing relationships and networking for promoting economic cooperation. Caglayan has risen when he found the opportunity for using his corporate skills in the political arena after the AKP was elected as the governing party.

The primary goal of Caglayan is to introduce economic opportunites in Turkey to foreign investors and increase Turkish exports. Turkish economy has been improving since its establishment. According to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) Turkish economy has become the 17th largest economy in the world having a GNP of 750 billion USD(TIM Website 2010). Turkey survived the Global Crisis without any destructive effects and relatively small losses. The country has the highest growing rate in Europe with 5.8% average economic increase between 2002 and 2008. The national per capita income over 10.000 US$ has tripled since 2002 and the inflation is around 5%. The country has been industrialized especially in textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining (coal, chromate, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper and is rich in natural resources.


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