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Sat09202014

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Back INTERVIEW

Dr. Ergüder Can

Living
"We could not forget that Bangladeshi people stood by us during the difficult times of our country. Unfortunately, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is not where it should be. This is one area where we need to focus more."

FN: Welcome to Bangladesh. What brings you to Bangladesh and is this your first visit to the country?

EC: This is the first time I am visiting Bangladesh. My country Turkey is willing to host Expo 2020, which needs support from other countries affiliated with the organization. As Bangladesh is a member of the organization, we are here to request your government to lend its support to our candidacy for Expo 2020 Izmir. We would like to hold the proposed event in Izmir--one of the most important cities in Turkey. This November, delegates from around the world will vote in Paris at the general assembly of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to select the official venue for 2020 Expo.

FN: Last two days you have met with senior government officials of Bangladesh. How was the response?

EC: We have already met with the minister of commerce, foreign affairs adviser to the prime minister and some other senior officials of Bangladesh government. We have also met with the leaders of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other leading businessmen. I would say we have been able to make some progress as Bangladesh prime minister has expressed her willingness to support our candidacy.

FN: Why is Turkey interested to host Expo 2020?

EC: Turkey is interested because it would like to showcase its achievements at the mega event which will draw participants and tourists from all over the world and is also likely to get a great deal of media attention worldwide. We would be able to share our transformative experiences in the health sector with the rest of the world and create a platform for exchanging ideas between developed and developing nations. We are expecting nearly USD50 billion investment for infrastructure and other related projects and nearly 30 million visitors.

FN: How can Bangladesh expect to benefit from Expo 2020?

Living
Izmir, which is the proposed venue for Expo2020, is the third most populous city in Turkey

EC: Bangladesh is performing very well in the various sectors like garments, pharmaceuticals, etc. Expo 2020 will be a great opportunity for Bangladesh to explore and exhibit its products and skills. The pharmaceutical sector of Bangladesh has made remarkable progress over the years and it can be a major focus in the expo. Bangladesh can particularly show how it operates the community clinics, which can be a lesson for other countries.

FN: How many countries have you visited to get support and how many more do you plan to visit?

EC: Currently BIE has 166 members and I have already visited 131 countries including Bangladesh. My target is to visit all of the member countries. It is not only me but also our prime minister, concerned ministers and ambassadors in foreign countries who are involved in this campaign. We all are working towards getting support for our country's candidacy.

FN: Turkey and Bangladesh are friendly countries. How can Turkish government support Bangladesh government in the coming days?

EC: Both countries have very close bilateral relations and it will last for many years to come. We could not forget that Bangladeshi people stood by us during the difficult times of our country. Unfortunately, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is not where it should be. This is one area where we need to focus more. I think there should be more cultural and information exchanges between the two countries. Our business leaders need to sit together more frequently. I am personally thrilled to know that Dhaka has a road named after our father of the nation Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. I certainly believe that our existing relationship can be taken to the next level through Expo 2020.■

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