Leading Turkish business group lends support to İmralı talks, presidency

Leading Turkish business group lends support to İmralı talks, presidency

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Leading Turkish business group lends support to İmralı talks, presidency

Newly elected chairman the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Muharrem Yılmaz, AA photo.

The Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), one of the country’s leading commerce organizations, supports the ongoing talks to solve the Kurdish issue, newly elected chairman Muharrem Yılmaz said in a debut press conference to outline the group’s two-year program.

“The ongoing talks between Kurdish and Turkish authorities, the so-called İmralı process, will also contribute to the Constitution-building process by establishing peace,” the chairman said.

Yılmaz also said TÜSİAD would back any decision by the Constitutional Conciliation Commission, including a shift to the presidential system from the current parliamentary democracy.

The chairman said the key element of both processes is ensuring consensus between several actors.

“We hope the new Constitution will be built with a consensus as the foundation of modern Turkey. As long as the decision is made by the Constitutional Conciliation Commission, we will acknowledge any regime,” Yılmaz said.

Expressing his pleasure with the course of the Constitution-building proceedings, Yılmaz said the critical issue was the political parties’ agreement not to impose their entire ideology on their counterparts.

The consensus over how to approach the civilian-military relationship in Turkey also inspires hope, he said.

Recalling that the next chapter to be opened by the European Union and Turkey has been agreed upon as “Regional Policy Instruments,” he said this carries substantial meaning in the context of a solution to the Kurdish problem and formation of the new Constitution, since peace would conceal regional differences and spur regional development.

The chairman emphasized the European Union’s significance as an impetus for ensuring peace, human rights and democracy on nation-states, noting its increasing significance.

“The European Union, as the reference of peace, democracy and globalization, is the rehearsal of a balanced and controlled globalization and the new global values will be the core of the union,” the chairman said. Yet he suggested the problems aroused by the economic crisis have proven the EU needs to deepen its union ties.

He said globalization cannot be reduced to a mere economic transformation as it prompts a clash between democracy and welfare, forcing governments to prioritize one of them. According to Yılmaz, the business world should be on the side of those who suggest these two concepts can co-exist.

According to Yılmaz, the classical growth perception complying with a nation-state-based system has died and will be replaced with a new economic order and governance model structured with global dynamics.

While expressing TÜSİAD’s support to globalization and aim to contribute to the process with new ideas, the chairman also added a warning for the business world, saying “there is a possibility for the internalization of more protective economic approaches in the future due to states’ increasing roles in the economic realm amid crises, and for this role to be become permanent.”

Yılmaz also shared TÜSİAD’s stance and policies regarding the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), to be signed between the United States and EU, and said Turkey should observe the development of the deals and must contribute to the process somehow.

“As President Clinton said before, TAFTA is the economic NATO, and as TÜSİAD, we aim to work on enabling Turkey’s participation in all respects.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of TÜSİAD International Osman Boyner said TÜSİAD companies and their American counterparts, U.S. Chamber of Commerce members, are beginning to conduct business together in Northern Iraq.

While American companies abstain from operating in the region due to the tension between the Kurdish Regional Government in Arbil and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, Turkish companies lack technology and innovation, which makes joint businesses a more reasonable choice.