Approximately a thousand businessmen from various countries came together at the 60th Anniversary International Business Forum hosted by TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu in İstanbul.​


Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

Message of cooperation from Hisarcıklıoğlu at the 60th Anniversary Business Forum: “Common sense is the magician; structural reforms, the magic”

13.09.2012 / İstanbul


Approximately a thousand businessmen from various countries came together at the 60th Anniversary International Business Forum hosted by TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu in İstanbul.​


Hisarcıklıoğlu put emphasis on the importance of cooperation during his opening speech at the forum, “This century, in simplest terms, is the century of cooperation. Those who don’t cooperate, who secede from the world, who wall themselves in will lose. That mentality misses opportunities; turns them into risks instead.”

Also attending the opening of the forum were Macedonia President Gjorge Ivanov, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Minister of Customs and Commerce, Hayati Yazıcı.

TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu, reminding that TOBB’s story began in a small office in Ankara in 1952, and spoke of how TOBB came to be as it is today. Stating that they have 60 proud years behind them as the umbrella organization of the Turkish private sector, Hisarcıklıoğlu called out to the chamber presidents, “Put your efforts towards creating a democratic, transparent, participatory and active structure.”

In regards to their works as TOBB, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Thanks to our chambers, our entrepreneurs have met with the entrepreneurs of other countries. We have paved the way for new trade agreements, joint investments and sharing of experiences. Thanks to our chambers, our entrepreneurs are able to gain support in many fields like project development and market research. We have established a university to contribute to the human capital of Turkey. We have founded a think tank to put forth new ideas regarding private sector focused economic policy design. We have modernized our customs gates so that our entrepreneurs may trade faster, safer and cheaper.”

- Key actors of the business world meet

Stating that they bridge the local and international networks of local and global key actors in İstanbul, Hisarcıklıoğlu, “Today, businessmen from 87 countries representing 83% of the world’s population and 79% of the global economy are present in this hall. Today, global leaders, opinion leaders from the 7 regions of Turkey and my Presidents of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges are meeting. The Turkish business diaspora, active in 5 continents, is here. Also among us are the pride of our country, the women and young entrepreneurs of our country. We are laboring, producing, taxpaying businessmen with sweat on our brows, providing employment. We are all the opinion leaders of our regions and countries.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu, grouping the economy’s global and regional problems under 10 headings, said, “Everyone can see there is a debt crisis in Europe but there is no political leadership to push for a solution. The obstacles to trade are increasing; protective policies are on the rise. Unemployment is a problem but youth unemployment appears to be the bigger problem. Vocational education is being discussed as a possible solution to unemployment. The increase in commodity prices due to increasing population and consumption are triggering rapid rise of production costs. Food and energy crises are becoming threats to all economies. Poverty and hunger are increasing while income disparity becomes larger every day. The political developments in the Middle East are affecting the global economy. Rapid population increase and the rise of the middle class in parallel to urbanization are changing the way global politics, economy and business are conducted. Entrepreneurship is becoming more democratic each day, an economic structure which allows everyone to establish their own business is developing. My observations lead me to believe that while the energy of the global economy drops, implementing new solutions during this process will be necessary. These 10 basic issues are rapidly changing global economy.”

- “Structural reforms are the magic”

Stating that today, common sense is the magician and structural reforms are the magic, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We have to construct structural reforms together through common sense if we are to solve our regional and global problems in the 21st century. In order to achieve world peace and stability, we must make a new beginning and come together as global partners. We will either win together or lose together.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu went on, “We went through a financial crisis in 2001 similar to the one afflicting European and many other countries today. I became the TOBB president around the same time as the start of the crisis. There was a horrible lack of morale. However, we brought the workers’ syndicates, public servants’ syndicates, craftsmen and all who partake in the business life together for the future of the country. We put in place mechanisms for consultation and made common sense prevalent.

Everyone kept the interests of the country above their own interests. Our politicians made the reforms which brought Turkey to where it is today through common sense. I would like to thank Minister Babacan who was in command of the economy then for guiding us. Common sense came out as the victor from that collaboration; Turkey came out as the victor. What we need to do today is make the global common sense prevalent. First, we must remove the obstacles to international commerce.

Rules should dictate how we do business, not whimsy; we want the rule of law. We demand a system which will swiftly and actively resolve issues. Bread and freedom cannot be separated; there can be no strong economy where there is no democracy. Without freedom, there is no trade; without trade, there is no prosperity. That is why we want more democracy. We must pave the way for democracy while we pave the way for production. Entrepreneurship can only thrive in an environment of freedom. There are two driving forces behind prosperity. A strong economy and a high quality democracy. These two are inseparable parts of a single whole.”

- “We are partners, not rivals”

Addressing the entrepreneurs in the hall as his partners, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Chinese, Egyptian, American, Iranian and Mexican are my partners. It is my opinion that those who do not cooperate with other in this century, who secede from the world, who wall themselves in will lose. That mentality misses opportunities; turns them into risks instead. This century, in the simplest terms, is the century of cooperation. There are a thousand of us in this hall. This platform is a great opportunity for you to form partnerships. I know that some of you will take this opportunity to discuss bilateral cooperation agreements. Hopefully there will be new collaborations and partnerships to come out of this hall. As Henry Ford said, ‘Coming together is a start. Staying together is progress. Working together is success.”

- Macedonian President GjorgeIvanov

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov stating that he had come to the forum as a result of the friendship between Turkey and Macedonia and the role of TOBB in the development of the country’s economy and that TOBB aims to bring unity to chambers and exchanges, to develop professions, encourage and maintain honesty among members.

Stating that the world faces global economic, political and security risks today, Ivanov said, “International economic cooperation is the only option to increase global competition. This cooperation strengthens international commercial competition’s ability to compete in the present conditions of the world economy today.”

- Deputy Prime Minister Babacan

Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, stating that this year is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of TOBB, congratulated the chambers community.

Babacan stated that, the present global economic conjunction –especially in regards to the business world- presents many problems and issues and that a time of uncertainty and problematic period for governments in regards to economy policy will not be easy for the business world.

Stating that the economic stability of the country, macro-economic balance and the people who work in this country are very important, Babacan said that companies refrain from investing and doing business when they are unable to foresee what lies ahead.

- Customs and Commerce Minister Yazıcı

Customs and Commerce Minister Hayati Yazıcı said, “The fact that those who stood up for Libya are willfully ignorant of the massacres being committed in Syria will leave hard to heal wounds on human conscience.”

Speaking at the International Business Forum organized by TOBB, Yazıcı stated that today’s world is undergoing social and political transformations; that a new balance of power is being formed.

“Global prosperity and stability, regional prosperity and stability are closely connected to the peace of each individual country of the region. Turkey is located at the center of most tumultuous region of the world between the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus as well as the meeting point of the most important trade and energy routes of the world,” said Minister Yazıcı and stated that, for this reason, Turkey stands at a risky but opportunity filled location and that they defend the peace, stability, cooperation and democracy of the region.

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