Turkish boss club working on ties with EU, US
The business world has stepped up its diplomatic activities in view of the recent political and economic events.
The business world is conducting meetings and undertaking initiatives with their partners in other countries in order to end the tensions as soon as possible. The meetings conducted by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK) and its partner organization American Turkish Council are followed by initiatives of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD).
I called the president of TÜSİAD, Erol Bilecik, when I heard he was in the U.S., and asked him about his opinions about the recent situation.
“Every country undergoes difficult periods. The tension with the U.S. is surely not the first one. However, the 90-year-old relations between Turkey and the U.S. have transformed into an alliance based on Western values and geo-strategic foundations,” said Bilecik.
“Development in foreign relations does not happen overnight, or during a single day. You cannot control everything that might happen; you are only capable of controlling the reactions. And in terms of the economy, as well as in foreign relations, your reaction is your strength. You should not slam the door loudly while leaving the room, because you may want to go back one day. While Turkey tries to take action regarding its relations with the U.S. and the EU, this aspect should be considered,” he added.
Tense ropes break easily
The economy can never be solely explained on economic grounds, according to Bilecik. “Good foreign policy strengthens the economy, and when relations are tense, it presents itself the best in terms of economy,” he said. He underlined that the price of the tension between the U.S and Turkey is felt most in the financial world.
“It is clear that the U.S. is the financial center of the world. Even if countries do not acknowledge this fact, financial institutions and international institutions from any part of the world which currently work with Turkey might be affected,” he added.
Our debates continue
Bilecik provided information about TÜSİAD’s initiatives.
“Those who do not take part in solution-making become a part of the problem. We are definitely in contact with our partner institutions in the U.S. and the EU. The European Business World supports Turkey’s EU membership. What is important is what you believe in and how you can persuade others about it,” he said.
TÜSİAD’s representative office in Brussels continues its work, along with representative agencies in Washington, Berlin, Paris and London, according to Bilecik.
“In our international meetings, we realize huge support so that Turkey leaves behind the present economic disturbance. Most importantly, economic precautions should step in rapidly and the medium-term reforms should begin. This is the only possible way to become a country giving investment confidence.”
Let’s not miss the opportunity
“The EU without Turkey and Turkey without the EU should not be thought about. We are talking about a mutual history of many years. In the EU Reform Action Group meeting, the constructive attitudes of our ministers for full membership of Turkey were quite positive and valuable. With all of our experiences, we are ready to give any possible support. The U.S. is trying to organize the internal integration system. This is an important opportunity for Turkey,” said Bilecik.
“What is important now is to go forward on substantial subjects such as restarting democratic reforms, the updating of the customs union, the internal and external collaboration, digital single market and energy and to seize this opportunity. Both the EU and Turkey should take a step,” Bilecik added.