Hatay’s firms need support

Hatay’s firms need support

HATAY - Hürriyet Daily News
Hatay’s firms need support

Thsi file photo shows burned Turkey-bound trucks in Syria. Turkish firms based in the southern provinces of Turkey neighboring war-ridden Syria have lost substantial amount of business this year. AFP Photo

Chairman of the Young Businessmen Association of Turkey (TÜGİAD) Ali Yücelen has asked the government to extend the debt deadlines of local businessmen in the southern city of Hatay. The companies’ export revenues have dramatically fallen in light of the recent political crisis with Turkey’s southern neighbor, Syria.

“The tax debts of the businessmen who used to make business in Syria and Libya were postponed with the law article number 6111 last year. We would like the same law to be implemented for the local business owners in Hatay who have been in deep economic crisis because of the political crisis with Syria,” said Yücelen at a conference organized by TÜGİAD on the impact of the Syrian crisis on Hatay’s economy. Yücelen said he respected the political decisions made for the sake of Turkey, but the burden of economic losses resulting from these decisions should be shared.

Exports plunge

He also said the government should allow both local businessmen and shopkeepers in Hatay to benefit from short-term work subsidy provided at times of economic crisis or due to force majeure. The direct export volume of Hatay, which was $118 million in 2010, has decreased to $33 million in the first seven months of the year, TÜGİAD Çukurova Branch Chairman Armağan Öner said yesterday in his speech at the organization’s conference.

Öner said that Turkish trade in cities bordering Syria has almost come to a halt. “The loss from the border trade only for Hatay and Gaziantep is more than one billion dollars,” he said.

TÜGİAD Ankara Branch Chairman Barış Aydın said recent developments with Syria were a serious concern among the businessmen and that a war would be devastating for the country. He said Hatay was an artery of trade and that the country would “lose serious blood if the artery is cut.”

Turkey should pursue the policy of “zero-problem with neighbors,” said Aydın. “Peoples of both countries can come together and stop this alarming situation.”