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An Open Letter to Turkish Business Community

B2B Business Meeting at Dedeman Hotel, 10 April 2012 By Prof. Syed Ahsanul Alam The potential of Turkey-Bangladesh bilateral relation is immense. Recently the prime minister of Bangladesh made a state-visit to Turkey(11 April 2012-14 April 2012). As a member of the prime ministers entourage, it is my humble initiative of advocating Turkey-Bangladesh relation in particular and marketing orientation of diplomatic relation in general. ------------- Writers Note Assalamualikum, Turkish Brothers and Sisters: Good Morning, Today, I think I am lucky enough to attend this sublime gathering of majestic personalities as a member of prime ministers state-visit to Turkey. The relation we have is a relation of intense commitment and glorious history. As a person, I am teaching at Business School; as a Professor of Business, and as a Chairman of Imperial Group, I have been doing and learning business for the past two decades. It is a great time for us to retrospect how Turkey and Bangladesh became friends and have been friends for years. The tie between Turkey and Bangladesh is a tie of confidence, belief, love, aspiration and encouragement.I was taught marketing and management at the university and business at home under egicmetic supervision of my father. Dear Brothers of Turkey I have been in a dilemma and surely will be in so because of my somewhat, to a large extent, conflicting professional commitments. To me, the understanding of Turkey Bangladesh relation is an institution, which was fostered, energized and treated pragmatically today. My salute and respect goes to all, who initiated this journey of ours and eventually has made us to meet today. Perhaps many participants of this gathering have already learned from different statistics of our bilateral relation but, what I think, a relation between us is not bilateral, even not multilateral; it is a relation that we deserve because of our commonness in hearts and minds and souls. As I teach Marketing, I always try to look into something, first, from the marketing point of view, secondly, from the view of cause and effect. Bangladesh is home to 160 million people, second largest Muslim community in the world, located in a very strategic point in South Asia, two- third people are young, and most of them are energetic, committed and hoping to professional. This trait of population of ours is exclusive demographic benefit for both of us. Any Turkish industrial presence in the land will be well equipped with this abundant supply of labor that can make us socio-economically sound to earn benefit from this comparative advantage.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The dress or apparel has been with us since the beginning of civilization. Every society, whether in these days or those days, preserves unprecedented respect for apparels. The garments industry of Bangladesh has been in learning for the past three decades. Now we can stand alone because of its maturity and professional achievement. The growth of apparel industry is recognized when it is called third largest apparel manufacturer in the world. This credit goes to our people who struggled and forth for this cause. Many of the economic zones were designed to accommodate apparel industry in particular other industries in general. In 2007, Turkey stood 4th in the rank as a shipbuilding nation leaving behind China, South Korea and Japan based on orders and jobs available whereas shipbuilding industry in Bangladesh is in the making. Adequate compliance, cheap labor, technical human capital, availability of raw materials, especially steel, are comprehensive backbone to foster shipbuilding industry as one of the trusted sectors in the years to come. Here we are requesting our Turkish friends of this sector to utilize these facilities to serve our brotherly optimum benefits. It is no surprise to know that Turkey is the 15th largest manufacturer vehicle in the world and 6th largest motor vehicle producer in Europe just behind the United Kingdom and above Italy. The demand for vehicles in Bangladesh are dependent on other countries as it is a country of 160 million population, so it has to import large amount of vehicles from abroad, from reconditioned to brand new. It is estimated that in the year of 2011 about $ 800 million was spent for importing vehicles. Consequently, it can easily be understood that Bangladesh could be a definitive place to explore a vehicle industry as early as possible. Take this instance of humble development, we extend hearts and hands to our Turkish counter parts, please go and see what treasure is waiting for Bangladesh. In addition, we do like to share with you that now many leading apparel brands have found Bangladesh as convenient as possible to draw benefit not only for them but for us as well. At this point, I do want to point to the fact that, if both governments mutually agree, the possibility of formatting Specialized Economic Zone for Turkey in Bangladesh can be highly successful; if it is in Chittagong, it sounds very convincing because of its Sea Port which is the largest Sea Port of the country covering 90% foreign trade of the land. For example, Chittagong Export Processing, Karnaphully Export Processing Zone and Korean Export Processing Zone are in Chittagong by the Bay of Bengal next to the Sea Port. I feel honored and proud to be here. Before coming here, last 29th March I attended, along with my colleagues, a coordination meeting with His Excellency Mehmet Vakur Erkul, Turkish ambassador to Bangladesh at Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI). At this very moment, the very word of him, I could recall, is that he termed this Prime ministerial visit led by Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, is a friends visit to another friendbothers visit to brothers residence. . This word of Mr. Mehmet has reflected upon throughout the visit through cordiality, brotherhood and hospitability of Turkish government, people and friends. In addition, my heartfelt facilitation goes to Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Dr. Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, H. E. Mr. Mehmet Vakur Erkul, Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh, Mr. Zia Ur Rahman, Bangladesh Ambassador to Turkey, my colleagues and friends.

Professor & Chair, Department of Marketing, Chittagong University, Director, Rupali Bank Limited, Director, Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chairman, Imperial Group, Chittagong, Bangladesh.