Speaking at the Turkey Conference a held in the USA, TOBB/DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the economic facet of relations with the USA have started becoming more evident to the business world.​


Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“The economic facet of relations with the USA is more evident to us”

11.06.2012 / Washington / USA


Speaking at the Turkey Conference a held in the USA, TOBB/DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the economic facet of relations with the USA have started becoming more evident to the business world.​


The 31st Turkey Conference organized by the American-Turkish Council and the DEİK Turkish-American Business Council (TAİK) started yesterday in Washington D.C.

Attending the conference were TOBB/DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, USA Minister of Defense Leon Benetta, Turkey’s Ambassador to the Washington Namık Tan, USA’s Ambassador to the USA Francis Ricciardone, TAİK President Haluk Dinçer, USA Foreign Affairs Ministry Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Assistant Secretary Philip H. Gordon and many high level representatives of the USA and Turkey business worlds and governmental institutions.

In his speech, TOBB/DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu assessed economic and political facets of Turkey-USA relations.

Emphasizing the importance of economic relations, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We, as the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, have stressed that the situation is unsustainable since 2001. In the changing world order economic relations should have been the strongest pillar of the Turkish-American relations. Every step taken in this direction would have been supported by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.

We received a reply to these during President Obama’s April 2009 visit during which he put forth the ‘model partnership’ as his vision of relations.”

Stating that after this date, the importance put the economic facet of bilateral relations by President Gül, Prime Minister Erdoğan and the USA Secretary of State Clinton was felt at every level of bureaucracy, Hisarcıklıoğlu said “Economic and commercial matters have started taking up more and more of politicians’ and bureaucrats’ time. As a result, solid steps have been taken in this regard recently. The business world is feeling these changes.”

TOBB/DEİK President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they consider the economic relations between Turkey and the USA as bilateral trade, reciprocal investments, tourism, joint technology development and increasing relations between our entrepreneurs and cooperation in third countries; and that efforts should be directed to this end.

- The most important factor behind growth is the Turkish private sector

Providing information regarding Turkey’s economy, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Turkey generated 3.5 million jobs between 2009 and the end of 2011. Last year, a growth of 8.5% was achieved. The greatest factor behind the growth was the Turkish private sector. The private sector provided new jobs to 1.3 million people in 2011. With 100 billion Dollars’ of it in equipment, has invested a total of 140 billion Dollars. It has exported over 20,000 products to 200 countries.”

- The new incentives system makes it more attractive to invest in Turkey

Emphasizing that Turkey is the largest industrial giant between China and Italy, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated, “Turkey has become a country with a well trained workforce, production with close to zero errors. It is the only country apart from the USA to produce 13 different brands of vehicles. We are taking part in constructions worth 206 billion Dollars in 93 countries.

I believe that there is very serious potential and therefore opportunity for bilateral trade relations between Turkey and USA. In order to take advantage opportunity, we need to make structural changes in the long run. However, development can be achieved in the short term with training and awareness raising activities.

As with commerce, there are significant opportunities in bilateral investments. It is known that Turkey presents serious potential in the fields of renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, defense industry and real estate. The new incentives system has made Turkey more attractive for investments. In regards to improving the investment environment, Turkey is continually developing itself.

In the field of tourism, Turkey is the world’s 7th most preferred tourist destination. The number of tourists from the USA to Turkey reached 762,000 in 2011. This figure is important. However I would like to emphasize that the number of tourists from the USA are on the level of a middle sized European country. We must further our cooperation in order to increase bilateral tourism.

- Partners for a New Beginning – PNB

Stating that the partnership in the field of entrepreneurship provides opportunities for cooperation third countries, TOBB/DEİK President said, “In this regard we are undertaking the Turkey branch of the USA Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ two important programs: Partners for a New Beginning – PNB and Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP).

As part of PNB we are executing projects in the fields of entrepreneurship, economic opportunities, change and science and education. In this regard, we have integrated a large group into the work relationship with Madeleine Albright. We presented our projects and success stories to USA Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton. We continue to share our experience regarding PNB with other countries.”

- “Iran, Iraq and Syria are our neighbors”

“Turkey’s region demands Turkey-USA knowledge exchange, empathy, shared vision and cooperation,” said Hisarcıklıoğlu and went on, “Iran, Iraq and Syria are our neighbors. The smallest of instabilities in these countries will directly effect the economy of the Turkish people in general and those in the border provinces specifically.
We, of course don’t want a neighbor with nuclear weapons. We would prefer that these efforts be prevented through diplomatic means.

We are distraught at the deaths of our relatives in Syria, of people fleeing their homes and becoming refugees as we are also worried about the economic impact this has had on our provinces bordering Syria. We are disturbed by the loss of jobs. The longer the solution takes to be implemented, more massacres take place. Hatreds deepen. Turkey does not want to be destabilized due to the upheavals of its region. The international system should take action and stop the flow of blood. Life must return to normal in Syria.

Iraq is one of Turkey’s most important trade partners. Investors from Turkey are contributing greatly to Iraq, especially its northern region. Our businessmen are working in every part of Iraq. However we are worried about the political stability there. We want stability for all of Iraq and for the increased prosperity of its people.”

- Solution in Cyprus

Touching on the issue of Cyrus, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “A solution must be found for the Cyprus issue. Cypriot Turks are subjected unjust political and economic embargoes. The will to abolish this must be mobilized.”

Emphasizing that the USA’s support if effective in Turkey’s EU accession process, TOBB/DEİK President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that Turkey’s economic and political transformation efforts are effected greatly by the accession process and that the USA support is more important than it has ever been at the point we’ve arrived today.

- Turkey’s economic transformation

Stating that Turkey has transformed from a quiet agricultural country to a dynamic industrial country within the last 30 years, Hisarcıklıoğlu went on: “This change has taken place in a stable manner. This detailed transformation is due to the two main characteristics of our homeland.

The first of which is the entrepreneurial spirit of our people. With the policy reforms of 1980, thanks to President Özal, we opened up to the outside, we learned that as a part of the world we can become rich. We learned by practice.

The second is the strength of our democracy. We know very well that the road to change lies through the ballot. The freest we are is when we stand in front of the ballot box. We have never forgotten this feeling and we never will. The ballot has always worked right and has solved problems.”

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