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GİLA BENMAYOR

gbenmayor@hurriyet.com.tr

GİLA BENMAYOR >Turkish Design Center in London

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As more and more people are coming to believe that the black clouds hanging over tourism in Turkey will not be so easily dispersed, the country is developing new strategies to achieve its $500-billion target in exports in 2023. 

One of them is the Turkish Trade Centers project carried out by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) and the Economy Ministry. 

The first such center was opened in the Iranian capital Tehran last week, opening doors for exporters to promote their products and also for marketing and forming partnerships. 

After Tehran, other Turkish Trade Centers will be opened in centers such as Dubai, London, New York, Chicago and Tokyo. These centers will offer 75 percent support to exporters, meaning that only 25 percent of the costs - including rents and staff expenses - will be covered by the exporter. 

Officials say the reason why this project was kicked off in Iran is the huge economic potential of this neighboring country, with which we have historic ties. 

While textile and furniture sectors are particularly interested in Tehran, Turkey’s ceramic sector - which ranks as the world’s 5th largest - has turned its eyes to London. 

“London is a center where the most important architecture companies are situated. Most international architectural projects are conducted from offices in London. We know that from these offices architectural services worth 4.5 billion pounds conducted across the whole world,” said Bahadır Kayan, the head of a group known as Turkishceramics. 

Kayan said Turkishceramics was conducting significant promotion activities in London, including sponsoring the architectural activities of the Royal Academy of Arts and the ceramic “Unexpected Hill” installation exhibited at the academy’s Burlington Gardens in 2015. 

In cooperation with one of the leading architectural weeklies in the U.K., the Architects’ Journal, Turkishceramics is aiming to develop projects that open Turkey’s architectural values to the world. 

One of these projects is an exhibition and book on the 16th century Ottoman architect Sinan, “Sinan, the First Starchitect,” written by British architects who were invited to Istanbul and Edirne to research the subject. The book is now meeting readers at significant architectural festivals and fairs across the world. 

According to Kayan, with the increase of such promotional activities in the U.K., over the past four years the awareness level of Turkish ceramics has jumped remarkably. 

“When people are asked: ‘Who makes the best ceramics in the world?’ Turkey comes third after Italy and Spain. We are doing everything we can to strengthen this perception,” he said.

Turkishceramics is now preparing to open a “Turkish Design Center” on a space of 1,650 square meters at Clerkenwell in London, where many architectural offices are located, with the support offered to Turkish Trade Centers by TİM and the Economy Ministry.
 
“We will prioritize our success stories. We aim to explain that we are at a good point in ceramics in terms of both product and design,” Kayan said. 

So amid much uncertainty, kudos to this ambitious move of Turkishceramics in London, one of the world’s top design centers.

February/28/2017

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