Head of trade body resigns on tensions

Head of trade body resigns on tensions

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Head of trade body resigns on tensions

Guilaume has resigned from his post as the chairman of Turkish-French Trade Association.

Oliver Guilaume, French chairman of Turkish-French Trade Association (CCIFT), has resigned unexpectedly from his post. A top business board claims the decision was related to the rising political tension between the two countries.

“I was informed by the association he resigned for personal reasons,” Banu Antonetti, member of Turkish-French Business Council at Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK), told the Daily News during a phone interview yesterday.

“Turkey has already been late in lobbying against the bill, and now it is time to think about what will happen after the voting of the bill in the French Parliament,” Antonetti said.

The CCIFT declined to comment on the issue.

Gauilaume is also general manager of Sanofi Aventis, one of the largest pharmaceutical French firms in Turkey. CCIFT currently has 450 member firms, 150 of which are French. 

No letter to Sarkozy

A letter prepared Dec. 17 by CCIFT addressing French President Nicholas Sarkozy was not signed by Guilaume, the president of the association at the time. Instead, the original letter bears the name and signature of Zeynep Necipoğlu, vice president of CCIFT, who signed as president.

“French firms have encountered political pressure on acting against the bill punishing the denial of the so-called Armenian genocide,” said another source from DEİK speaking to Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity. 
According to the source, Gaillaume resigned “due to the political pressure on his shoulders.” Previously Ankara requested the Turkish-French Business Council to urge French firms in Turkey to have a press meeting but it was cancelled due to unwillingness of the firms to participate.

“Later last week, French firms were asked to sign a letter to Sarkozy,” the source said. According to the source, the rising tension on the political level puts the French firms in an increasingly difficult position in Turkey.