Invest: Miami speaks with Ozgur Atlan, Consul-General of Turkey in Miami

The opening of a Turkish consulate in Miami is part of Turkey’s strategic plan to expand its commercial, diplomatic and consular presence in the U.S., and to deepen ties to the Caribbean and South America; the Turkish government recognized that to be successful in Latin America it must have a presence in Miami. To fulfill our goals in Miami, we worked to bring Turkish Airlines back to Miami International Airport after 14 years. Direct flights to Istanbul commenced in late 2015. Our next step is to improve our commercial ranking in doing business within the city and the State of Florida. Miami is strong in real estate, tourism, hospitality, aerospace technology and medical equipment and has much to offer Turkey in those areas in terms of mutual trade.

There is already significant business being done with Turkey in Florida, especially in construction: a great deal of stone and marble—key Turkish exports—are being imported by major Florida cities. Other significant Turkish entries into the local market include a multimillion-dollar car modi cation center in Miami; Turkish conglomerate Suzer Group’s joint venture to develop a luxury hotel in Surfside; and the opening of Okan International University’s campus in North Miami. Turkey has also worked to established its local cultural footprint; for the past five years, Miami has hosted the Turkish Film Festival.

As an international medical tourism and cruise destination, and the sixth most-visited country in the world in 2014, Turkey shares many similarities with Miami, and there are many areas of collaboration between the two places. For instance, Miami has a vibrant cruising industry and serves as the headquarters of three of the major global cruise corporations. Since three out of four tourists traveling to Turkey are doing so to take a cruise, we see many opportunities for strategic cooperation. Turkey also has a thriving jewelry industry; with the continued growth of luxury shopping destinations, like the Miami Design District, there will be more Turkish participation. The cultural and commercial affinities between Turkey and Florida will only create more opportunities for growth and increased cooperation.