Istanbul could become regular WEF host venue

Istanbul could become regular WEF host venue

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul could become regular WEF host venue

Sabancı Holding Chairwoman Güler Sabancı says no one in Turkey should say ‘we’ve done our job and now it’s over,’ in her closing speech at the WEF. AA photo

Istanbul could become the yearly host of World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings, EU Minister Egemen Bağış has said amid an improvement of relations between the prime minister and Davos officials.

Every one or two years

“[WEF President Klaus Schwab] said he wanted to make the WEF in Istanbul a regular event and asked whether this would be appropriate and whether or not we would allow this,” Bağış told daily Hürriyet on June 6 at the end of the three-day event, noting that the WEF head was considering whether to hold the forum in the city every one or two years.

“Our prime minister said he would be very pleased to host an event that draws the world’s most important investors and leaders.”

Bağış also said Schwab had invited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to return to the regular forum in Davos in 2013 and that the Turkish leader would consider the offer.

Bağış said such forums fostered investment in Turkey and that such investments spurred employment.
“Foreign businessmen are looking for an excuse to come to Istanbul.”

In his closing comments at WEF, Bağış said Turkey had become a model not only for the region, including Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, but for the West as well, including Europe and Russia. “Being a source of inspiration strengthens Turkey’s position … We hope to repeat the WEF in Istanbul. Welcome to Davos.”

Turkey to be shining example

Güler Sabancı, the chairwoman of one of Turkey’s largest family holdings, Sabancı Holding, echoed Bağış’s comments in her closing speech, saying she hoped Turkey would be a shining example for the region.

The chair, however, added that no one in Turkey should say “we’ve done our job and now it’s over.” Instead, she said Turkey needed to continue along its development path while at the same time promoting democracy, human rights and closing the gender inequality gap.

Erdoğan has not visited Davos since 2009, when he stormed out due to an argument with Israeli President Shimon Peres.