Turkish bosses call for legal reforms, transparency
Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan (C), Doğan Holding Vice Chairperson Hanzade Doğan Boyner (R) and Bursa Governor Mevlüt Karaaloğlu pose during yesterday’s Uludağ Economy Summit.Calls for a more transparent legal system and democratic reforms marked the first day of the Uludağ Economy Summit, where top business figures of Turkey and prominent foreign guests underlined that the country needs a new economy perspective.
In its third year of the summit that has been held in the northwestern ski-resort town of Bursa, the main focus of the speakers was heavily influenced by the ongoing political developments.
Keynote speaker of the summit, Doğan Holding Vice Chairperson Hanzade Doğan Boyner, said the country is entering into a new era and the most urgent task to fulfill in this new period was “to meet the liberal economy’s indispensable values with society.”
“Capital owners and all individuals should trust in the loyalty to merit, law, ethics, transparency and political common sense of the system they are living in,” she said. “They should be able to take long-term risks with this trust.”
Graft allegations against a number of government allies and scores of leaked tapes allegedly belonging to the top government officials, prominent businessmen and media executives as well as a number of controversial legislations adapted by the government in the aftermaths have damaged the accountability of the political elite in the country.
However, in her speech Doğan Boyner also urged the business world to step in, self-criticizing for not taking enough responsibility up to this day.
“Who is responsible for social transformation? This responsibility cannot be only in politics. We, the whole business world are responsible for that,” she said.
“The business world hasn’t felt such kind of duties on it, but if will have true democracy and if we will get out of middle income trap, every individual, civil society organization, and business world should shoulder the responsibility,” she asserted.
The country had an economically successful 10 years, but now it was entering a new era, which made structural reforms all the more urgent to achieve the required transformation to sustain captured growth, according to Doğan Boyner.
“Now we are entering into a new period where creativity and design – principles that we cannot grab in hands - are taking the front instead of construction and heavy industry,” she stated.
Delivering a speech at the organization, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs Ali Babacan also highlighted the importance of legal accountability for maintaining as well as sustaining economic success.
“Primarily everybody should respect the superiority of law for our long-term economic success as well as Turkey to be a developed democracy and an advanced economy,” Babacan said. ”We should internalize that as a society.”
“Healthily operating state mechanisms and most importantly a truly functioning legal system are our musts,” he asserted.
He emphasized that business required a consistent, reasonable, just legal system that was far from being vague and arbitrary.
The key for Turkey to achieve these standards is the country’s EU membership process, according Babacan, who had many times said that international standards should be taken as a base for further reform.
Addressing participants in a separate session on the investment environment of the country, Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM) Chairman Mehmet Büyükekşi echoed Doğan Boyner’s remarks, stating the country needed a new way of looking at things.
Turkey needed value-added exports to cure its weak spot of high current account deficit, which could be obtained through new partnerships with foreign companies, he said.
“We believe new investments will come to Turkey if we can clearly explain the Turkish population and geography’s advantages, but political stability and the trust environment are crucial for that.
İlker Aycı, the head of Turkey’s Investment Support and Promotion Agency, meanwhile, underlined the importance of introducing necessary reforms need for investors immediately after local elections to be held on March 30.
“We must constantly review and improve our investment environment, without losing any time after elections,” he said, adding the EU standards should be urgently reflected in the quality of Turkish sectors.