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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Turkey

18th January 2013

How to make stuff with less energy – or, how Turkey can import less gas

This January figures were published showing that Turkish gas imports had hit an all-time high.

So the timing of the UK-Turkey Knowledge Partnership Conference at the British Consulate General in Istanbul on 17 January to examine Energy and Resource Efficiency in Manufacturing could not have been better.

photo2Turkey is an increasingly important research and manufacturing hub.  Roche, Pfizer, Fiat, Mercedes-Benz, Huawei, Bosch, Siemens, Intel, Microsoft, ST-Ericsson and Nortel already have R&D activities here, while Ford, Fiat, Mercedes and Renault manufacture in Turkey.  But dependence on imported energy, and the resulting current account deficit, is a brake on Turkish growth.  Meanwhile the UK is a key centre of manufacturing and engineering expertise, including in energy efficiency.  UK car manufacture hit a four-year high in 2012 of 1.46m cars, with 80% exported; and British-built energy-efficient wings support 50% of the world’s large aircraft.

International collaboration in science, innovation and trade is crucial to tackle global challenges.  That’s why the UK-Turkey Knowledge Partnership, signed in 2011 to facilitate collaboration between the universities, research institutions, businesses and governments of the two countries, is so important.  At the KP Conference in Istanbul, we were delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales as an opening speaker and Professor Dame Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University and the UK’s Low-Carbon Business Ambassador, as our key-note speaker.  The Conference, attended by a host of top Turkish and British academics and business people, delivered a concrete expression of practical co-operation on everything from alternative energy systems to low-carbon transport and materials, energy efficiency and manufacturing.

We look forward to further collaboration between British and Turkish institutions through the Knowledge Partnership and congratulate our Science and Innovation Network, together with their Turkish partners TUBITAK, for making the conference a resounding success.  Meanwhile I shall look with interest in the months ahead at future Turkish gas import figures and at plans to increase the share of renewable energy in Turkey from 10% now to 30% in 2023.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.