Turkey’s top bosses warn of serious economic risks, urge maintenance of key institutions

Turkey’s top bosses warn of serious economic risks, urge maintenance of key institutions

Turkey’s top bosses warn of serious economic risks, urge maintenance of key institutions

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Turkey’s top bosses have warned of the serious economic risks facing the country, noting the urgent need for Turkey to strengthen key institutions and decrease political uncertainties. 

“[The measures taken so far] may lead to a short-term cure, but are not enough to save tomorrow,” said Turkish Industry and Business Association’s (TÜSİAD) high advisory board president, Tuncay Özilhan, on Jan. 12.

“The global funds, which enabled our country to grow in a rapid manner in the first half of the 2000s, have now veered back. In a bid to ease the economic problems, our economic administration has taken a series of measures,” Özilhan said at a general board meeting of their organization, but noted that the measures were insufficient.

“It may now be possible to refloat the struggling companies in the short-term, but this cannot be sustained,” he added. 

Özilhan noted that it is a must to maintain the rule of law, meritocracy, pluralism, justice, robust bureaucratic institutions, secularism, freedom of speech and economic stability in order to enhance economic recovery and attract foreign investment. 

“Uncertainties and political risks can thus be minimized, pushing down interest rates and inflation, making the Turkish Lira a valuable currency and increasing the investment inflow into our country,” he added at the meeting in Istanbul, where the association elected a new president, Index Group CEO Erol Bilecik, to replace Cansen Başaran-Symes. 

Emphasis on secularism

Başaran-Symes also underlined the importance of the maintenance of a number of crucial institutions, including secularism, for the sake of an economic recovery and social peace. 

“It is not possible for Turkey to prevent its engulfment by the pains of the Middle East without the existence of secularism … Turkey cannot overcome the escalating security concerns by constantly extending the state of emergency,” she said in her speech. 

Noting that Turkey was once seen an exemplary country by its neighbors, she said: “If we want to raise our competitiveness, we must make it possible for our qualified people to work peacefully in Turkey.”

She also said Turkey should “never quit its European Union agenda.”

“More importantly, Turkey can only secure its future welfare by renewing its institutions, enhancing the rule of law, showing respect to human rights and property ownership rights and adopting smart economic and technological policies which will enable Turkish businesses to become more competitive. We are transferring all of our missions to TÜSİAD’s new board,” she added. 

Leading businesspeople Ali Koç, Simone Kaslowki and Murat Özyeğin were appointed as the new vice presidents of the association. 

Bilecik emphasized the importance of democratic rule, rule of law and education on the road to making Turkey a prosperous country in his first speech as the new TÜSİAD president. 

The Turkish Lira has lost around 10 percent of its value just since the beginning of 2017, becoming the worst-hit emerging currency, amid several concerns about Turkey’s political reforms, its sluggish economy, rising inflation and terror attacks. 

Now or never

Many businesspeople and economists recently called for the easing of uncertainties to return the economy to a growth track.

Amid rising economic and financial concerns, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his call on the business world to invest, produce and increase employment by taking risks today as there might otherwise be nothing left to risk tomorrow.

“I am here calling for the business world to invest, to create new jobs and to cause economic activity to rebound … If they do not take these risks now, they will have nothing to risk tomorrow,” he said in a speech in Ankara on Jan. 12.