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Byline: Jon Griffin

THE Midlands automotive sector needs to see booming Turkey as the next big sales opportunity, according to one of the region's biggest industrial names. Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, head of Warwick Manufacturing Group, said the country could become the next 'powerhouse' economy.

He told peers: "Our relations with Turkey should be based on shared interests. Turkey's national interest lies in meeting their citizens' hunger for prosperity.

Our interest lies in benefiting from this future growth."

With the Turkish economy recovering strongly after being hit hard in the global downturn, R&D deals could be struck, said the Midland peer.

Lord Bhattacharyya said: "There is huge room for growth in the region, but it requires innovation.

"In automotive there are only around a hundred vehicles per thousand people in Turkey.

"In neighbouring countries, the number is lower still, though people are getting wealthier."

Developing durable, low fuel consumption vehicles will be crucial to meeting consumer needs, he said.

"That's why Turkey is now focused on improving R&D. Facilities that employ at least 50 technicians get around half of their investment costs back.

"Ten of Turkey's thirteen vehicle manufacturers are already taking advantage of this support.

"This is a major opportunity for British business. We have world-leading innovation in automotive to offer."

He said money was flowing into Turkey while Britain's university science sector was excellent, and in a position to bene-fit.

"If we offer partnership with Turkish institutions now, we will reap rewards when expanding businesses look to the UK for support," said Lord Bhattacharyya.

"If we spurn this chance, others will seek to take that place.

"If we want to prevent the Islamic world moving to fundamentalism, we need a successful Turkey, for itself and as an inspiration for the people of neighbours like Iran."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 18, 2011
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