Turkey has been a whirlwind! Since last weekend I’ve been traveling with the Governor and a number of other state and business leaders on a business mission to Istanbul, Ankara, and Mersin. We’ve had an excellent experience so far and have met with some very influential members of the Turkish business community. We had great attendance at our “Discover Georgia” meetings in Istanbul and Mersin and took lots of questions about how Georgia can help companies get established in the state.
A real highlight of the mission and a chance to showcase one of Georgia’s most prominent success stories was a networking event Tuesday night at the Koc Museum hosted by Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. The attendees constituted a real “who’s who” of the Turkish business community.
On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone and his wife gave us a warm welcome at their home. We enjoyed hearing about their experiences in Turkey and getting some firsthand information about the business culture here. And who would have thought we would see original letters written by historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant! Apparently they and many other prominent Americans have written to Turkey’s sultans over the years, and the Embassy has saved those letters for posterity.
After seven days of non-stop activities, I have to say I’m looking forward to seeing Georgia again. Our trade, investment and film teams will have their hands full following up with all the contacts we’ve made!