Trade Week Spotlight On Turkey

    GRAND RAPIDS — An attempt to get Osman Faruk Logoglu, the Turkish ambassador to the United States, here for World Trade Week 2004 didn’t quite pan out.

    Still, two high-ranking officials from the Republic of Turkey diplomatic corps will participate in the local world trade activities next week.

    Naci Saribas, deputy chief of mission in Washington, D.C., and Consul General Naci Koru from the Chicago consulate will participate.

    Both gentlemen will be on hand for the gala VIP reception Monday evening, and Koru will provide attendees with an overview of his country’s current events at the Tuesday morning seminar.

    Gregory Harris and Thomas Maguire, international trade specialists with the commercial service sector of the U.S. Department of Commerce, are responsible for getting Saribas and Koru to attend the annual local trade event, which shines the spotlight on Turkey this year.

    “An ambassador’s schedule is very tenuous; it goes by the hour depending on what happens. You can have them booked and then they decide they can’t make it because they have to answer to their government,” said Maguire, who manages the commercial service office located on West Fulton Street.

    “We hoped to get the ambassador, but we found out it was not going to be possible for that particular day,” added Maguire.

    Still, Harris and Maguire did pretty well. Saribas is the No. 2 Turkish delegate to this nation, ranking only behind Logoglu, while Koru heads the consulate in Chicago, one of three Turkey has in the United States. The other consulates are in Houston and New York City.

    “You have to be persistent. You have to convey the importance of their being here, as we focus on their country,” said Maguire of what he and Harris had to do to get both dignitaries here for the event.

    “It’s appropriate that they have representatives when we focus on a country.”

    The invitation-only reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., Monday, May 24, at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.

    The trade seminar is 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 25, in the Loosemore Auditorium on the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State University in downtown Grand Rapids.

    Registration for the seminar, which features Koru and seven other speakers, is at 7:30 a.m. The seminar is open to the public at a cost of $50.

    For more information on either event, call Pat Kluz at the Van Andel Trade Center at 331-6811.

    After suffering through a difficult recession in the late 1970s, Turkey began a successful economic recovery program in the early 1980s.

    From 1981 through 1985, the county’s economy grew by 7.5 percent and by an average of 6 percent from 1985 to 1992.

    It grew by 8 percent in 1995, by 7 percent in 1996, by 8.3 percent in 1997, and by 3.9 percent in 1998.

    In 1999, however, Turkey’s economy slid by 6.4 percent. A crisis in neighboring Russia, a pair of earthquakes in the country, higher interest rates and increasing domestic taxes all contributed to the decline.

    The service sector accounts for 66 percent of Turkey’s economy, while manufacturing and agriculture are respectively responsible for 19 percent and 16 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

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