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İlker Kılıç, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in Dubai
İlker Kılıç, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in Dubai

İlker Kılıç Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in Dubai expects the visit of President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to further boost the confidence and morale of both Turkish residents and companies in the UAE

Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 12:00 AM

What is the importance of Dubai for Turkish companies and the Turkish community? What are their main areas of occupation? How will the visit impact them?

Both Turkish companies and community are concentrated in Dubai. We can roughly estimate that more than 85 per cent is based in Dubai. Turkish companies have a strong presence in many sectors, from construction to hospitality. They contribute to the local economy and the bilateral trade volume of almost $8 billion, trading, offering services and manufacturing in the UAE.

The community, on the other hand, has been growing steadily for the past 50 years. Especially in the last few years as Dubai’s popularity in Türkiye and demand for Turkish employees has increased, we have seen an even more staggering growth. Today, we estimate that there are around 25,000 Turkish citizens living in Dubai, with more than half having arrived only in the past five years. They generally tend to work in international and local companies at all levels with many in leadership positions.

Feeling welcomed, they have happily made Dubai their home. Even during the politically challenging years, they have lived and worked in Dubai unhindered. We are grateful to the leadership for the hospitality extended to them. We can expect the visit to further boost the confidence and morale of both Turkish residents and companies, and also attract many more.

How does the Turkish community express its national identity in Dubai?

We are happy to observe a vibrant Turkish community in Dubai that enjoys their national identity. The community gathers on many occasions. For example, Dubai Turkish Business Council (TBC) organises, among others, large-scale events with the participation of thousands every year, to celebrate our October 29, Republic Day. The ‘Sultans of Dubai’, a Turkish women's social media group, has been, with the support of TBC and our Consulate, organising for a decade the April 23 International Children’s Day, where our children get a chance to play with their compatriots and enjoy their national identity.

Furthermore, our mother tongue Turkish courses, ‘Dubai Turkish Hours’, educate our children in our language and culture on the weekends. Community sports gatherings, such as the May 19 basketball or October 29 tennis tournaments are also held where Turks come together to compete and enjoy themselves. Many restaurants organise Turkish nights for the community with local Turkish live music bands. There are also arts and entertainment events with the attendance of our community. We even have many Turkish markets catering to the community. We can say that Dubai is a city where Turkish expats can easily access a piece of their motherland.

Is there one specific sector that you feel presents further potential to develop?

Türkiye and the UAE are mutually complementary economies in many areas. There’s great potential to increase trade and investment in all sectors, including by collaboration in third countries. But there’s one sector that I would like to highlight, as it goes in line with the vision of both countries and reinforces their future standing in the world: technology. Both Türkiye and the UAE are regional technology hubs, with vibrant ecosystems. We see more and more Turkish start-ups operating in or scoping out the UAE, while an increasing number of UAE companies draw support from and invest in Turkish tech companies and talent. Both ecosystems are mutually complementary, whereby strengthening and multiplying the bridges will undoubtedly benefit both sides, as well as the entire region.

— ali@khaleejtimes.com

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