President Abdullah Gül made a speech of remarkable ambition and confidence this morning at the Royal Society, laying out a sweeping vision of democratic and free-market reform in the Middle East and clearly positioning Turkey as a model for the Arab world. The President’s confidence has also been reflected in the up-beat tone of this week’s state visit and is driven by Turkey’s astonishing economic performance of the last few years. Since President Gül’s AK Party came to power in 2002 Turkey’s GDP per capita has trebled, with its growth rate climbing to 9 percent. Turkey’s economy is now the 6th biggest in Europe and the 17th biggest in the world. One of the reasons behind Turkey’s economic miracle is its aggressive approach to export-led growth, for example it has opened 22 embassies/consulates in Africa alone over the last 9 years.
Read the text of the speech here.