Going back 30 years with İSO 500

Going back 30 years with İSO 500

The meeting I attended at the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (İSO) to learn the 2012 performances of Turkey’s top 500 industrial enterprises on topics varying from endorsements to profit and loss, and from export to employment and added value, turned into nostalgia for me.

I was beamed back 30 years when the ISO’s new chairman, Erdal Bahçıvan, said, “Before we declare the top 500 industrial enterprises, which all of you are eager to learn, I would like to return to the roots of this research.”

As Bahçıvan drove our attention to, the İSO Turkey’s Top 500 Industrial Enterprises research “started in 1968 when the science of statistics in our country had not yet come out of the economy books to find life in the field,” and it has been continuing for 45 years. And the last 30 years were under my regular screening!

Toward a global brand

This precious report is indeed a peerless information repository for Turkey’s industry and a powerful mirror for the economy. Additionally, it has become a topic for numerous academic theses and researches. An economics history library stands before us when we combine all of the 45 reports, which are a touchstone by themselves.
Bahçıvan said they had started to make the 45-year research, which is valued by economics public opinion, academic circles and bureaucracy, into a global brand.

The food sector as the new leading sector

You can find the details of the 2012 top 500 industrial enterprises in our economy pages. I would like to touch upon the part where Bahçıvan said “now let’s do some industry-specific nostalgia.” They have brought the data of the last 30 years together for the first time this year and here are the results: while the sectors constituting the backbone of the industry in 1982 have fallen behind in comparison to today, new stars have been born. For instance, while the quantitative figures of the leading sectors 30 years ago – weaving, clothing, leather and the shoe industries – have diminished by half from 22,4 percent to 10,4 percent, the food, beverages and tobacco industries have become the backbone of the sector with 21,4 percent. The electricity sector that had not existed 30 years ago holds a 2,4 percent today.

First woman speaker Bodur

By the way, for the first time in its history the İSO has a woman assembly speaker: Zeynep Bodur Okyay. In the early ‘80s, when I started doing financial journalism, her dad, İbrahim Bodur, was the İSO assembly speaker. Thirty years later his daughter... Just like the doctors or lawyers who became popular for 2-3 consecutive generations, whose last names we all know.

We are used to fathers and sons but daughters that take their fathers’ senior positions at trade associations can still hit the news.

First woman member Meral Gezgin

Meral Gezgin, who is the daughter of the late Nurullah Gezgin, the board chairman during İbrahim Bodur’s second tenure as assembly speaker, was the first woman member to enter the İSO’s assembly. She was also on the İSO board in the ensuing years.

While speaking of women, another woman became the İSO secretary-general with Bahçıvan’s arrival: Melek Us.
Until recently there was such a tradition: The candidates for the administration first became board chairmen for one or two periods and after their tenure they would step outside the operations to become the assembly speaker, which is more of an honorary title. Nowadays, just the reverse of this tradition is happening in the İSO and also in the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO). The assembly speakers of the last periods, Erdal Bahçıvan and İbrahim Çağlar, now steer the chambers as board chairmen.