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BERLIN VERSTEHEN

HANDE KURT

"Understanding  Berlin" (In German: "Berlin verstehen") the  campaign  motto of  Berlin's  Social Democrats.  Governing Mayor Wowereit's re-election campaign continues .We met with him during Be Berlin Campaign  events in Istanbul in 2009. You will read my ex- interview for a business guide .

H.K :Please tell us shortly about yourself and your duties in Berlin city?
Klaus Wowereit : As Governing Mayor, I am responsible for the 3.4 million people of the city of Berlin, who elected me to office. I am also the Senator (minister) in charge of cultural policy. As a Social Democrat, fighting unemployment is an issue that is especially important to me. I am the head of the Berlin state government; like Bremen and Hamburg, the capital city Berlin is both a city and a state under Germany"s federal structure, which is why the Governing Mayor of Berlin is always one of Germany"s state premiers. I was born in Berlin, studied law here in the city, and started my political career here, too.

H.K:Could you please summarise your achievements and cultural/business activities and also your future plans and visions of Berlin city for the next 3 years?
Klaus Wowereit : I hope that by the end of this legislative period we will have gotten a grip on the consequences of the financial and economic crisis. Until the crisis broke, our strict austerity policies had helped us to start paying down our public debt. Unfortunately, however, the crisis put an end to that. We had to start borrowing money again to help boost the economy. Our economic policies made innovative industries and new technologies the focus of our efforts, and it appears that these sectors are more stable than the older industries. We are going to continue down this road. As far as cultural policy is concerned, we are working on making Berlin one of the world"s major cultural capitals.

H.K :What do you think the reasons are for Turkey to join the European Union?
Klaus Wowereit :I can"t answer for the Turkish government. As Governing Mayor of Berlin, however, I can say that bringing Turkey into the European Union is in our city"s best interest. After all, in terms of the number of people of Turkish origin, we can say that Berlin is the largest Turkish city outside Turkey. And these Berliners benefit both our city and our economy. If Turkey were to accede to the European Union, that would promote both trade and exchange between Turkey and Berlin.

H.K :As a successful professional what are the advices you can give to Turkish young entrepreneurs living in Europe?
Klaus Wowereit : My advice is no different than it would be to any entrepreneur starting out in business: you need a good idea, reliable partners, and enough money, along with hard work and commitment. And as a Social Democrat, it is especially important to me personally that everyone has the opportunity to acquire the skills and means they need to become a successful entrepreneur.

H.K :What are your fundamental principles in becoming a successful professional?

Klaus Wowereit  : Again and again, I have noticed that it is vital to be well acquainted with the facts. You always have an advantage if you are better informed than your negotiating partner. Even then, however, in order to succeed, you also need to be persistent in following the goals you have set for yourself.

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