Thank you for inviting me to speak this morning on this auspicious occasion, the opening of Tiffany and Company’s new boutique at the Zorlu Center.
Tiffany’s is an iconic international brand that has strong ties to the history and culture of the United States. Charles Lewis Tiffany and John Young founded the company as a “stationery and fancy goods emporium” in Lower Manhattan in 1837. During the American Civil War in the 1860’s, Tiffany’s provided swords, flags, and surgical instruments to the Union Army in its fight to preserve the republic and end slavery. In 1877, the insignia that became the famous New York Yankees “N-Y” logo was struck on a police medal of honor made by Tiffany and Company—the Yankees later adopted the logo in 1909. And no one can forget the image of Audrey Hepburn admiring the jewelry in the windows of your flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue in the opening scene of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
Along with these ties to America’s past, the opening of Tiffany’s boutique at the Zorlu Center speaks to the strengthening economic relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. During his visit to Turkey in 2009, President Obama underscored the importance of Turkish and American firms’ working together to develop projects, generate business, and contribute to our economies, and in the process, develop lasting friendships.
It is clear that these joint efforts have led to increased trade and investment. Over 1,200 U.S. companies now operate in Turkey – an increase of nearly 50% since 2007. In the past few years, we have witnessed new investments by such prestigious U.S. companies as Pratt and Whitney, GE, and Ford. We can now add the expansion of a legendary American brand to this portfolio – Tiffany and Company.
Congratulations on the opening of your beautiful boutique and I wish you great success.