Turkey’s leading business group TÜSİAD denies ‘silent, passive’ criticism
The head of the Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) has responded to criticism from Turkey’s main opposition party over “remaining silent” in the face of rights violations, .
“We believe we do a good job in defending the whole of the Turkish business world. Can we do better? Yes, we can. We will take action if necessary. But if we’re talking about data, we need good analysis to back it up. We have many fundamental objectives, and one is to maintain Turkey’s strong stance in the international arena,” TÜSİAD chair Erol Bilecik said in an interview on private broadcaster CNN Türk on Oct. 14.
Bilecik said he was “surprised and saddened” by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s suggestion that the business world “remains silent despite the damage it is receiving.”
He said the association expresses concerns about the current situation in Turkey “200 days a year on average.”
“I know how busy the political agenda is. TÜSİAD consultants may be able to help the party leader acknowledge TÜSİAD’s claims and how often they are uttered,” Bilecik said.
“[The government has] banned the Turkish Union of the Chamber and Commodity Exchanges [TOBB] elections. TÜSİAD is trying to communicate without offending anyone. But the business world should be braver as it has nothing left to lose. It has already lost everything,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said on Oct. 12.
Bilecik stated that Turkey should “do some thinking” on topics such as democracy, the rule of law, and the ongoing state of emergency, calling for an “atmosphere that will appeal to and reassure investors.”
He also expressed hope for a swift resolution of the ongoing visa crisis with the United States.
“I don’t think the U.S. visa crisis will go on for very long. But I think relations with Germany will take some time to repair,” Bilecik said.
“The German administration has some serious claims and the German business world also has motivational problems about Turkey. What we have to do here is to multiply the communication channels … We must put an end to the idea that reconciliation means defeat,” Bilecik said.
The TÜSİAD chief also warned that although current growth data is satisfying, in the long term an economy feeding off the construction sector is “not sustainable.”