Council mobilizing the Turkish diaspora
PM Erdoğan (4th R) and ministers attend the World Turkish Entrepreneurs event.Economist magazine recently wrote that there are 215 million first-generation migrants around the world: That is 3 percent of the world’s population.
Immigrant networks make it easier to do business across borders.
While China, India and Ireland constitute the top three in the world diaspora ranking, Turkey is ninth on this list, just above Iran. Today, around 7 million Turks are scattered all over the world. The Turkish diaspora emerged mainly after a wave of labor migration to Europe in the late 1950s. The majority of Turks in the diaspora are now naturalized citizens in their countries of residence. This has greater importance for lobbying in support of Turkish national interests. As TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu states, “Turks are no longer a group of migrant workers; they are CEOs of multinational companies, directors of global institutions, successful entrepreneurs in a wide area from Vancouver to Vladivostok, from Helsinki to Cape Town.” In Western Europe, Turks have 140,000 companies, employing 640,000 workers.
In 2009, the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK) established the World Turkish Business Council (DTİK) in order to get the Turkish diaspora to become more active in the political and economic arena of their countries of residence. DTİK is composed of Turkish companies operating outside Turkey, business associations established by Turkish businessmen in foreign countries, senior executives of Turkish origin in leading multinational corporations and other international institutions.
The president of the DTİK is Hisarcıklıoğlu, and the president of the High Advisory Board of DTİK is Muhtar Kent, who chairs the Coca Cola Company. The DTİK has its own elected board of executives and its own general assembly which convenes annually.
In April 2009, DTİK organized the Convention of World Turkish Entrepreneurs in Istanbul with the participation of 2,500 delegates from 70 countries and ministers of the Turkish government. In this convention, for the first time, Turkish officials and business leaders used the concept of “diaspora” with a positive meaning. In March 2010, the Turkish government founded the “Turks Abroad and Relative Communities Directorate.” As Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “the diaspora issue has become a national policy as a result of the DTİK’s work.”
The DTİK then launched the “DTİK Communication Platform” (www.dtik.org.tr) which gathers all Turkish entrepreneurs and professionals across the globe. Again, in October 2011, the DTİK successfully organized the Convention of World Turkish Entrepreneurs in Istanbul. It featured nine government ministers, as well as Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.