The tenth edition of the Uludağ Economy Summit, Turkey’s main economic forum, took place on March 24-25, in the city of Bursa. The Summit, that owes its name to Mount Uludağ, renowned for winter sports, was organized by Ekonomist, Capital and Start Up magazine, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Ankara and the ITA-Italian Trade Agency Office in Instanbul.
This year’s edition of the Summit, titled “Are We Ready for the New World?”, was held in hybrid form. The Summit was attended by important Turkish politicians, such as Minister of Treasury and Finance Lütfi Elvan, Ministery of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank and Minister of Agriculture Bekir Pakdermirli, as well as members of the Turkish and international business community.
Among the speakers was Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Manlio Di Stefano, who arrived in Bursa together with Roberto Luongo Managing Director of ITA-Italian Trade Agency, as well as representatives of Italian companies such as Barilla, Unicredit, CHN Industrial. Di Stefano was the only member of a foreign government to speak at the Summit, demonstrating the importance of the partnership between the Uludağ Summitand the Italian Embassy, and, more generally, the attention Turkey gives to its relations with Italy, an important political and economic partner.
As Mr. Di Stefano said in his speech “Turkey is a regional economic power, and Italy places great importance on our historical trade ties and very significant bilateral investments”. Economic and commercial relations between the two countries are sound and constantly growing: in 2019, Italian exports to Turkey amounted to €8.6 billion while imports reached €9.3 billion. Italy represents Turkey’s fifth trade partner and its second European partner.
“More than 1500 Italian businesses are active on the Turkish market and we see a constant growth in Turkish investments in Italy. For Turkey, this can represent a point of entry to the single European market, with 500 million consumers” continued Mr. Di Stefano. “I am certain that today’s event is a precious occasion for strengthening economic ties between our Countries further, enhancing the opportunities for our companies and prosperity for both economies.”
At the same time, political relations between Italy and Turkey, often characterized by overlapping strategic interests due to geographical proximity, have intensified over the last period. The activism Turkey demonstrated in several areas that are particularly important for Italy, such as Libya, the Caucasus, and Eastern Mediterranean, made it necessary for the Italian government to intensify its cooperation with Ankara. Good economic relations are therefore crucial as they facilitate political cooperation on issues important for both countries.