Turkish businesses want a CEO roundtable at the White House

Turkish businesses want a CEO roundtable at the White House

Barçın Yinanç - ISTANBUL
Turkish businesses want a CEO roundtable at the White House

Relieved by the diffusion of the tension between Ankara and Washington, the Turkish American Business Council (TAİK) is eyeing a meeting between the two countries to give a new impetus to increase the trade volume to $100 billion.

The council has asked both presidents to host a CEO roundtable in the White House, to emulate the Russian model, which according to the businesspeople have proved very useful.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to meet on Nov. 13 in Washington. “We have an initiative to organize a business council, in the format of a roundtable at the White House on the margins of the two leaders’ meeting,” said Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, the president of TAİK, briefing a group of journalists on Oct. 24. We want it to be like the Russian model, he said.

On one of Erdoğan’s visits to Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Turkish president met together with the businesspeople from both sides, listened to the problems and gave on-the-spot instructions, which proved very efficient, according to TAİK officials.

Turkish businesspeople will meet their American counterparts at a meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 12, to discuss the timetable to reach the $100 million target, Yalçındağ told the press.

TAİK to have a representative in Washington

Yalçındağ also said TAİK will assume an additional mission of implementing a communication strategy.

The recent developments have shown the importance of lobbying the Congress, according to Yalçındağ.

“In the period ahead, we will play a more pro-active role and in addition to the mission we took upon on the trade diplomacy, we will follow a communication strategy that will include, the Congress, the media, representatives of civil organizations as well as think tanks,” said Yalçındağ.

The perception of Turkey in the U.S. stems from a lack of information rather than prejudice, said Yalçındağ. The communication strategy which has been shaped during the past year, together with the stakeholders, will start being implemented by next month.

“From Congress to the media, to the representative of the civil organizations, we will be constantly informing the U.S. public,” said Yalçındağ. In that respect, TAİK will have a permanent representative in Washington.