Restaurant changes its French name
In the crisis between France and Turkey following the French Parliament Lower House decision to criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide, the most prudent statement came from Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan. He said Turkey will not impose an embargo on France and will not restrict trade.
The data from the Turkish-French Commerce Association visiting Paris just before the vote at the French Parliament with delegations from Turkish Industry & Business Association (TÜSİAD) and Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) demonstrates how relevant Çağlayan’s words of “no embargo” were.
As the letter the association sent to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and ministers stated, the trade volume between Turkey and France is currently 12 billion euros. Of this total, 6.5 billion euros comprise French exports to Turkey.
Investments of more than 400 French companies operating in Turkey for years exceed $15 billion.
As General Manager of Renault Mais İbrahim Aybar pointed out, the electric Fluence ZE, which the Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gökçek cancelled the purchase of after the crisis broke out, was the product of Turkish workers’ labor. Fifty percent of the car is made up of locally produced parts.
While the Ankara mayor is boycotting the electric Renault vehicle, he is punishing both the Turkish worker and the local car parts producer.
He is punishing the Ankara residents who are yearning to breathe clean air and also an Ankara that would have a somewhat lower carbon dioxide count in its air with the use of electric cars.
When the crisis broke, we had heard from top officials, primarily Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that the campaign against France was not going to target the French people but the Sarkozy government.
However, it does not occur as such in practical terms. As we can see from what is happening, what the politicians say has a multiplied effect on the public. I can also see this in the emails I have received since the crisis broke out.
I will refer to two examples: The call from Chef Mehmet Yalçınkaya saying, “Even though we chefs are influenced by the French food culture, we should boycott this country,” received a positive reply from Turkish Federation of Cooks (TAFED). The federation has declared it will not be using French products.
The second example is the “strange decision” made by the restaurant “Le Pecheur” (Fisherman), which has been operating in Istanbul’s Tarabya district for 22 years.
According to the message I received via email yesterday, the restaurant has decided to remove its French name.
I don’t know, I guess “Le Pecheur” will go and the Turkish for fisherman, “Balıkçı,” will come instead.
This kind of a “beyond any measure” reaction makes me feel unsettled.
The French high school I graduated from has a scheduled 156th anniversary Jan. 20. Now the alumni association of the French high school is troubled on how it will make its printed ads of the anniversary.
However, the Turkish-French Commerce Association reminds us of this fact: The motion which has passed the Lower House has to be approved in the Senate.
Nobody should doubt that TOBB, TÜSİAD and the Turkish-French Commerce Association will continue their lobbying activities to prevent a negative decision from the Senate.
It is good to remain on the “cool” side.