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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

4th February 2015

Helping to build Istanbul’s Grand Airport and keep it safe

I work for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). UKTI is the part of the British Government which helps British companies to trade internationally, and which helps overseas companies to set up shop and invest in the UK.


International trade is one of the best ways to help countries become more stable and prosperous. Check out the correlation between the countries of the world which trade most (and least) and the richest (and poorest) countries. That’s why we love international trade.

One of the ways we help promote trade between the UK and Turkey is by working with Turkey on big projects such as the planned “Istanbul Grand Airport” or IGA.

The planned new airport, north of Istanbul, is one of Turkey’s most ambitious infrastructure projects. Due to be opened in the next few years, it will be built in two phases. Phase 1 capacity is 80 million passengers. Phase 2 will take the capacity to 150 million, making it one of the largest airports in the world.

The way UKTI helps British companies get involved in big infrastructure projects is by setting up a “High Value Opportunity” campaign or HVO; and bringing British companies together with the host nation organisations or companies who are delivering that HVO. For the IGA, that means showcasing the UK’s global expertise in airport project delivery. The aim is to position the UK as the partner of choice, and to introduce British companies to the IGA Consortium and to the Turkish State Airports Authority, DHMI, both of whom will make key decisions on procurement and purchasing.

When Turkish partners know that a British company can offer a tempting commercial opportunity, that can lead to a deal which benefits both sides. A number of British companies are already working closely with IGA and the consortium. DHMI have visited the UK to see what we can offer, including Heathrow’s magnificent Terminal 5.

We recently identified a further opportunity to help by bringing British companies with expertise in the security and airport equipment and supply sectors together with Turkish decision-makers involved in the IGA. In January, UKTI Turkey organised two days of meetings in Ankara and Istanbul between British companies in these sectors and Turkish partners. The security and equipment supply companies had the opportunity to present their solutions at technical level both to Turkish officials from DHMI and to end users in the Airport Consortium.

UKTI also brought together Turkish government contacts from departments such as DHMI, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Turkish National Police and the Turkish Private Aviation Association for an Aviation Security Seminar on 21 January 2015 in Ankara.

The seminar was a good opportunity to consolidate co-operation in aviation security; to explore best practice; and to explore the scope for future collaboration. This type of workshop can be invaluable to help both commercial and security experts work in tandem to provide the best responses to aviation security threats.

Turkey and the UK both face security challenges. Making new contacts, and discussing joint problems, is helpful to both sides.

We look forward to working further with our Turkish friends and partners on all aspects of economic and commercial co-operation – including on the development, delivery and security of the future Istanbul Grand Airport.

1 comment on “Helping to build Istanbul’s Grand Airport and keep it safe

  1. international trade is no doubt a veritable tool in contributing towards actualizing the aims and objectives of British High Commission. It is so because WTO, UNCITRAL and other rules are all gear toward integration and liberalization of the world economy. I think the British High Commission should also still work more closely with above international organizations on trade liberalization and integration of the world economy. Thank you.

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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.