Global brand of Turkish private sector: DEİK
ANKARATurkey’s gateway to the world’s private sector, the Foreign Economic Relations Board’s (DEİK), was founded in 1988 to monitor and develop Turkey’s economic relations with foreign countries and international organizations. It has 40 founding institutions, representing all areas of the Turkish private sector, and operates through Bilateral Business Councils. As of September 2012, there were 109 business councils operating under DEİK.
Turkey abandoned its former economic model based on import substitution and adopted a new economic model based on export-led growth in the 1980s. During this period, despite the fact that the Turkish private sector was organized around the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and other voluntary associations, Turkey’s business community did not posses institutionalized channels through which they could communicate their interests with respect to the foreign economic policies to the state, foreign governments and international organizations. To end this shortcoming, then-Prime Minister Turgut Özal initiated the establishment of an institutional framework, through which business community could play a role in Turkey’s foreign economic policies. In 1986 the decision was taken to the establishment of the DEİK as an affiliate of TOBB. Since then, DEİK has successfully organized more than 5,500 events such as business council meetings and forums, meetings with public institutions, reciprocal business negotiations, conferences, panels and seminars.
DEİK has been the most dynamic actor to strengthen Turkey’s global trade, investment and social links. In order to advance the economic relations of Turkey, market expansion and consolidation have been the major tools used to enhance the position of Turkey in the global marketplace. DEİK took part in the execution of the Asia-Pacific Strategy and the Latin America and Opening up to Africa Strategy.
DEİK also worked to lead, support and promote the regional economic integration initiates. They successfully started Levant Quartet, which aims to create a free trade and mobility area in the Eastern Mediterranean. To increase economic interaction between Turkey and Africa, DEİK organized the Turkey-Africa Business Forum and launched the Turkey-Africa Chamber. DEİK also represents Turkey on the board of directors of the BSEC Business Council. It works to develop cooperation with global organizations.
Moreover, DEİK attaches great importance to the regions and sectors in which the activities of Turkish businessmen are concentrated or developing. DEİK organizes activities with the participation of high-level representatives from those sectors and regions. It is well-recognized by many domestic and international organizations.
Reaching the exports goal
DEİK believes that Turkey has to diversify its exports in order to reach the national export target of $500 billion by 2023. In addition to the export of industrial products, Turkey needs to boost service exports as well. Therefore, DEİK indentified two service sectors where Turkey has a comparative advantage: health tourism and higher education. DEİK initiated the Health Tourism Business Council (SAİK) and the Higher Education Business Council (EEİK) as sectored business councils.
The SAİK was established to carry out various operations in the health sector to reach its full potential within the global markets.
The other important sector is higher education. With its 103 public universities and 65 privately-run foundation universities offering wide variety of academic program in different programs, Turkey is an ideal destination for international university students with high quality education at competitive prices in the heart of three continents. The EEİK will be highly instrumental for international students to discover the benefits that Turkey offers.
Over the last five years DEİK has taken two major steps to spread the reach of its influence across the country. First, through the Chamber Representative mechanism DEİK has appointed one representative to each local chamber. As of September 2012, there are DEİK representatives in 114 local chambers in 65 industrial cities in Turkey as well as in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. DEİK representatives based in these local chambers are in charge of facilitating cooperation and information sharing to support the foreign economic relations of the local chambers. The second step can be seen with the DEİK Development Platform, a collaboration mechanism with regional development agencies. A protocol was signed between the Ministry of Development and DEİK that aims to promote local and global investment to all regions of the country in an effort to minimize the development differences among the regions. This platform will integrate a network of regional development agencies to the wide global network of DEİK.
While these are only the activities and projects DEİK has completed so far they aim to do much more for the sake of a contributing to a more prosperous and developed Turkey.