Elections at the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce
Öztürk Oran has been elected as the temporary president of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) after İbrahim Çağlar unexpectedly passed away at an early age.
Now, there is the race for the elections to be held in April to elect the president of İTO.
“I had spoken with İbrahim Çağlar. He said he would not run for the seat and that he would endorse me,” Murat Kalsın, who announced his candidacy, said.
However, members of the Independent Industrialist and Businessmen Association (MÜSİAD) seeking to influence the election’s outcome seem to be supporting Şekip Avgadiç.
With 414,000 members, İTO is Turkey’s largest commerce organization.
Oran, a name which took many by surprise, ended up taking over the presidential seat after Çağlar’s death.
Oran said he took over the seat temporarily, as the elections will be held in April.
I have monitored İTÖ elections for nearly 25 years.
Before the 21st century, elections there would be pitched-battles.
And then, a behind-the-curtains competition fashion took over the scene - and MÜSİAD plays a role in this type of competition.
Elections were postponed
It was, again, MÜSİAD that ignited the fuse of the competition that lead to the postponing of the elections, which should have been held in November, to April, stirring the organization from within.
“I could never condone the gravitating of honest, idealistic and neat members to a dirty game. Any position that is not rightfully earned can stay away,” the late Çağlar had said, becoming the elephant in the room, at the organizational meeting in August.
What upset Çağlar was that members of MÜSİAD conducted a survey. The survey showed Dursun Topçu, Şekip Avgadiç and İsrafil Kuralar were favored.
The result had an influence in Ankara, postponing the elections to April.
In the meantime, Çağlar’s untimely death happened.
Dealing with the sadness of the tragedy went hand in hand with seeking a president to lead the organization in the meantime, and the elections came up.
Kalsın declared he would run for the presidential seat to Hürriyet’s Vahap Munyar. However, the board of directors had the final say, and Oran was chosen.
Oran’s temporary victory caught Kalsın by surprise.
As his candidacy was widely favored in the organization, Kalsın said, there was no word on Oran’s name and that it came up last minute.
Kalsın, who said he was very close with Çağlar, said something interesting.
“If he was alive, Çağlar would not have run in April. He wanted me to go for it. He wanted me to complete his projects. And, I did not pull back despite the heavy pressure on me. If the earth doesn’t stop spinning, I will be a candidate in April,” Kalsın said.
“Until April, İTO’s president is Oran. For our country and for our organization, I will be supporting and cooperating with the new president,” Kalsın said.
If the elections are postponed again, per speculated, the organization would get hurt by that, Kalsın said.
Avgadiç: No postponing, I’m running
I spoke with Avgadiç, a presidential nominee in the April elections and whose name emerged from the survey conducted by TÜSİAD.
It’s no surprise that Oran was rightfully picked, Avgadiç said.
Oran will not run for the seat in April, Avgadiç said.
Regarding the allegations on another postponement, Avgadiç said there’s no solid information to be taken seriously in that regard.