In 2016 I’m spending a year in Istanbul – on and off – enjoying Turkish culture and food, and providing some part-time consultancy help with the English language to local business executives and managers. I took my first faltering steps as an exporter after participating in two UK Trade & Industry trade missions in the Februarys of 2014 and 2015.
Istanbul is a simply wonderful city, rich in culture, history and with a passion for people and business. Turkey is also a young (average age 30) and vibrant country. English people ask me, ‘Do you feel safe in Turkey?’ Well, I certainly did before this month’s terrorist suicide bomb attack near the Blue Mosque which killed 12 people, mainly German tourists. And I feel safer than if I was commuting daily to London or Paris. I just take care to avoid tourist destinations, like the Haghia Sofia (pictured), groups of sightseers, the American Embassy, police stations, and some demonstration hotspots (like Taksim Square during public holidays).
An article on the weekend of 16-17 January by Simon Calder, the Independent’s travel editor, reassured me. He wrote, in answer to a letter from a reader fearful for her family if they holiday in Turkey this year, that “the overwhelming odds” were in favour of safety. He went on to add a three-point a risk-management plan. This involved taking care of rip tides, watching out for traffic when crossing the road, and wearing a hat and taking care with the sea, the cars, and the sun. Of course, we are all being vigilant, avoiding tourist groups in major sightseeing areas (as I do).
The route to exporting
I must break off to listen to a webinar from the UKTI about planning an online business strategy. They follow that up shortly with another webinar on social media. I have to say that UKTI have provided huge support and help in my exporting efforts.
Exporting is for companies of all shapes and sizes, not just multi-nationals. In Britain it is not generally appreciated how much the commercial world respects brand UK, especially in design, architecture, project management, consultancy, creativity, culture, and much more. The world is indeed your oyster – or, in my case, my Istanbulkart (the local equivalent of an Oyster card).