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Turkish Envoy Hopes for Increased Investment from Japan; Touts Engineering Prowess in Automobile Industry

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Turkish Ambassador to Japan Korkut Gungen speaks in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun in Shibuya ward, Tokyo.

Turkish Ambassador to Japan Korkut Gungen said in a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun that “[Japan] is one of the leaders in the fundamental transformation of the automotive industry,” and expressed hope for increased investment in Turkey from Japanese companies, especially those in the automotive industry.

In Turkey, Toyota Motor Corp., Isuzu Motors Ltd., and Western automobile manufacturers, such as Ford Motor Co. of the United States, produce more than 1 million vehicles annually. Sixty-five percent of the exports from this production goes to the European Union, hence automakers are placing emphasis on Turkey as a gateway to the EU. In recent years, investment in electric vehicles (EVs) has been increasing, according to the ambassador.

On the other hand, the shift to EVs requires the development of infrastructure, such as chargers, which means that demand for chiefly gasoline-powered vehicles remains strong in emerging countries. Gungen praised Japan, saying, “It has a well-developed foundation in hybrid vehicle technologies.”

With increased investment from Japanese companies, “Turkey can transform itself in terms of technologies, which will lead to exporting high value-added products,” the ambassador said.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Japan. The ambassador said that 80% of universities in Turkey have engineering faculties and “grow competitive engineers for [industries].”

The ambassador also emphasized that, in Turkey, “like the automobile industry, growth is expected in the production of medical equipment too.”