TÜSİAD will keep speaking up, Turkey's top boss says

TÜSİAD will keep speaking up, Turkey's top boss says

Ezgi Başaran ISTANBUL / Radikal
TÜSİAD will keep speaking up, Turkeys top boss says

Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) President Ümit Boyner vehemently denies allegations that the organization backed the ‘post-modern coup.’ DHA photo

The Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) is not the sort of organization to bow to political pressure when expressing its views, as its members are fully aware that that would not benefit the country, according to the institution’s leader Ümit Boyner.

“[The escalation of] tensions is not a desirable situation. Beyond that, all our members know that TÜSİAD is not of a [mold] to sit quiet [because we might] be reprimanded for speaking in a particular way, and that we would not be benefitting the country if we did,” Boyner said. Political leaders have chided TÜSİAD in the past, but TÜSİAD will continue to work the way a civil organization should in a participatory democracy, she added.

Boyner vehemently denied allegations that the organization backed the Feb. 28 “postmodern” coup, claiming that, to the contrary, the association stood firm against the military’s involvement in politics. “Civil organizations can criticize governments. That is how it works in countries governed by democratic [regimes]. To see the criticisms raised by civil organizations as part of an effort to topple a government amounts to the rejection of participatory and pluralist democracy,” she said.

The best proof of TÜSİAD’s stance at the time of the postmodern coup is a report prepared by Bülent Tanör and shared with the public only several weeks before Feb. 28, Boyner said. The Tanör report proposed suggestions for democratization that were much more advanced than the standards of that time, such as the subordination of the General Staff to the Defense Ministry, according to Boyner.
TÜSİAD’s board of directors neither assumed a stance nor issued a statement of support for the military’s role in the Feb. 28 coup, she said, adding that TÜSİAD was the first organization to question the role of the National Security Council (MGK) in Turkey.

“It represents a great injustice to label TÜSİAD as a proponent of the status quo. No other organization has worked as hard as we have to advance Turkey’s EU [European Union] accession process. Just as TÜSİAD has proven its mettle in standing up against military tutelage, it also stands firm against any kind of tutelage,” Boyner said.

Boyner also cautioned against the Manichaean notion of a new Turkey replacing the old one. “Social dynamics do not function in this way. I do not believe countries can change due only to [directives from] the top. I believe change is real only to the degree it emanates from the bottom and receives society’s approval.”