Politicians’ hitting at Tüsiad usual, says Boyner

Politicians’ hitting at Tüsiad usual, says Boyner

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Politicians’ hitting at Tüsiad usual, says Boyner

It is an honor to be the president of Tüsiad, says Ümit Boyner. AA photo

It is only normal for an organization like the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) to be targeted by politicians, said Ümit Boyner, the chair of the association. 

“When you clash over a subject with politicians you may become a target. It is not easy, but it is in the nature of the job. We do not participate in politics, but when you say something contrary to politicians, it is their job to react,” Boyner, who has been the chair of TÜSİAD, one of the largest associations representing the Turkish business world, for two and a half years, told daily Hürriyet. 

“It is my last five months [on the job]. It is an honor to be the president of TÜSİAD and more than an opportunity. It is stimulating. Both my awareness and knowledge has enhanced [during the job]. It is the most important period of my life,” she said.

The idea that “it is an ordeal to be the president of TÜSİAD” is a cliché, she said. 

Differences of opinions are utterly natural in a country like Turkey, which is going through a serious change, she said, “It is a matter of pluralism. But it is not easy to saturate pluralism. Unfortunately, we are not there [as a society], yet. We have habits like trying to create single-type people who do not question [the world].”

Boyner’s husband Cem Boyner is chairman of Boyner Holding, active in non-food retail, textile, ready to wear, tourism and services sectors, employing more the 6,000 employees. 

High levels of unemployment in Turkey have not lead to social problems due to society’s structure being based on solidarity, according to Boyner.

“Both families and communities step in with support mechanisms [in case of unemployment]. This is one of the soft powers in Turkey. But there is a chronic unemployment issue in the country. Turkey has to grow by 6 percent every year just to keep the unemployment rate at the same level,” she said.

When asked if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s three-child policy was a threat to the country’s economy, she said, “There is trouble in countries where the population has grown old due to low level labor force participation. Turkey will not see such a problem until 2040. We have to focus on how to educate and employ the younger population,” she said.

Umit Boyner, Tusiad, politics