Turkish TV interviews Chamber of Commerce The Netherlands-Turkey Foundation

In a spontaneous conversation between the Turkish TV business channel EkoTurk and the CCNT, the newly appointed vice-chairman Peter Wolters shares his views on the trade relationship and the opportunities that COVID-19 offers by launching digital and sustainable trade promotion initiatives between Turkey and the Netherlands.

The vice-chairman, Peter Wolters, briefly elaborates on his background. He is a former Secretary-General of a European transport association (NGO). The aim was to make ports, railways, roads, water, and air transport more compatible in ‘green’ corridors and supply chains. He regularly shared the table with EU authorities, market players (SME’s and multinationals), universities, and innovation consortia. In an early stage, he started to promote a Turkish transport innovation at the EU level.

Enterprising visionaries

The vice president explains that the CCNT is a not-for-profit foundation that does not has financially contributing members. The chamber welcomes visionaries, entrepreneurs, experts and partners who have the same mentality. Entrepreneurs who want to help the economy, ecology, trust, and (thus) peace through trade, innovation projects or the sales of specific, sustainable products and solutions.

Turkey is more than a growth market

Turkey is, of course, an import and export growth market. But it is also willing to export young, well-educated technical students. In the Netherlands, there is a shortage of technically trained staff. The workforce in Turkey is well equipped partly because of the many universities.

New digital & virtual promotion

On the Dutch side, the perception of Turkey needs to be improved. The vice president was impressed by the many (unknown) Turkish Teknoparks, incubation, and start-up valleys. Near Istanbul, he visited one of the many Teknoparks. It seemed as if TU Delft fits into these three times in terms of researchers and innovative solutions. But in terms of branding, marketing, and price setting, the Turks still have a lot to improve. The chamber is willing to brainstorm with Turkish companies in that area. Also in terms of creating more goodwill for Turkey.

In the interview, the vice president explains that he wants to new way of organizing trade promotion. In collaboration with a Turkish start-up, a virtual platform is being built. The aim is to more easily connect with Dutch customers.

‘Thanks’ COVID-19, it is difficult to participate in trading exhibitions. There is already a discussion with Turkish branch associations who want to participate in a pilot. The aim is to shape fairs in a broader, digital, integrated way. More than a quick zoom conversation!

Alternative energy and supply chains

When asked to respond to a Turkish energy challenge, Vice President symbolically explains how the energy eras have followed each other in recent decades. The importance of sustainable alternatives to fossil industries is explained. Renewable energy sources make the country more independent. Dutch partners of the KVK can help with energy-saving investments that pay off in the long term.

Furthermore, in the interview, the vice-president shares the insights he personally gained at a Dutch start-up. They use satellites and artificial intelligence to identify, monitor, and even predict sustainability opportunities (accessibility; surfaces; design) of infrastructure in a country, region, or city. For Turkish policymakers, it is important to define the concept of ‘sustainability’ clearly. The CCNT can help here.

Turkey can – more than is already the case – become an alternative to China. COVID-19 has made us understand the importance of robust, resilient, and shorter supply chains to Europe. Even the European Commission has publicly stated that Turkey offers opportunities here (see the video on the website).