The Association of Businessmen and Investors of Nigeria and Turkey based in Abuja is an organisation that has done a lot to promote trade and economic relationship between Nigeria and Turkey.
It has been doing this through packaging trade and investment tours for businessmen and investors in both countries and the annual Trade Bridge expo popularly called TUSKON in Istanbul, Turkey.
The organisation also organises trade exhibitions in different parts of Nigeria in which it brings Turkish manufacturers and businessmen to come showcase their goods and meet potential Nigerian partners.
One of such exhibitions is the forthcoming ECOWAS-Turkish Export Products Fair to be held at Eko Hotel, Lagos from March 26 to 28.
In an interview with BusinessDay in Abuja, Yavuz Zemheri, president of the association, said the objective was to make it possible for Turkish businesses to enter the Nigerian market. He said since 2006 the association has organised an international trade bridge and that twice (2009 and 2010) it was for West Africa while in 2007 and 2011 the international trade bridge was for only Nigeria.
Zemheri added that in May there would be another International Trade Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, for Nigeria alone.
Asked if in going to the Trade Bridge in Istambul in May, Nigerian businessmen would be encouraged to take their products to Turkey, Zemheri said it would be good for Nigerian businessmen attending the Trade Bridge to take their products to look for market in Turkey, adding that Turkey buys 90 percent of its sesame from Nigeria.
The association president said Nigeria is a large country for business but that a section of the foreign media has given the country a negative perception, adding that Nigeria should do something about that.
Zemheri said Nigerian government agencies like the Ministry of Trade and Investment and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) have been very supportive of the association’s efforts. “They receive Turkish investors and treat them well,” he said.
For the exhibition taking place in Lagos, he said a total of 110 companies in different sectors out of the association’s 125,000 members in Turkey would participate.
Among those expected to come from Turkey to attend the exhibition, according to Zemheri, are president of TUSKON, Riza Nur Meral; secretary-general of TUSKON, Mustafa Gunay; the Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, Mustafa Pulat and the Turkish minister of the economy Zafer Caglayan.
The companies expected to participate in the exhibition are in different categories such as construction materials, household appliances, food, cosmetics and machinery. The rest, according to him, are furniture, textile and packaging.
He said the people coming to participate in the exhibition from Turkey are genuine businessmen who would look out for distributors, representatives and partners from Nigeria.