Speaking at the opening of the first International Business Ethics Congress, TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that ethics must become institutionalized in the business community, “The business community’s interest in business ethic will increase gradually. Business ethic is not just a matter of morals.”​


Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

We must question unethical practices in the business community and prevent unfair profit

21.09.2012 / Ankara


Speaking at the opening of the first International Business Ethics Congress, TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that ethics must become institutionalized in the business community, “The business community’s interest in business ethic will increase gradually. Business ethic is not just a matter of morals.”​


Hosted by TOBB and TÜRMOB, the first International Business Ethics Congress started at the TOBB Union Center in Ankara. Giving the opening speeches of the Congress were TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, State Minister and Prime Minister Deputy Beşir Atalay, Customs and Commerce Minister Hayati Yazıcı and TÜRMOB President Nail Sanlı.

TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu drew attention to the relationship between businessmen and accountants. “The next closest person I have in the business world after my partners is my accountant. That is the only person who know what I do, who I sell to and who I take loans from. I share my thoughts and troubles with him,” said Hisarcıklıoğlu and that despite the close relationship between the two communities, there has not been any significant cooperation between TOBB and TÜRMOB until recently. Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We are clocking much work time with TÜRMOB. We are working together in the Constitution Platform. We have worked on the efforts for the promotion of the information regarding the new Turkish Trade Law.  We are working together in the renewal of the activity codes of all companies in Turkey.”

- The importance of ethics is continually increasing

Stating that the importance of ethics as a new subject for the business world, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Until recently, it was regarded in the field of philosophy. However, in recent years, it has garnered interest both in academia and the business world. This year, we decided to bring together ethics experts and academicians from the international community. Hopefully, in the coming years, we will be able to make this congress even more effective. This way, we will be able to observe the development of business ethics in our companies. You will see, the business community’s interest in business ethics will increase. As a result of globalization, companies are having to become answerable to their employees, customers and investors. In the changing and globalizing world, business ethic is not just a matter of morals. I will emphasize this: it is imperative to fulfill the primary tenets of business ethics in order to prosper.”

- How do business ethics win money?

Providing three examples on how business ethics will earn money, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Firstly, consumers are more powerful and have more knowledge than ever before because of globalization.

It is important for a consumer in London buying a shirt whether the worker who made that shirt in Shanghai has proper healthcare. Being respectful of nature, society and employees makes consumers trust companies, makes them desirable. This means ethical companies make more money.

Second point has to do with employees. Production has become difficult. We can no longer have completely unqualified workers do the work. Companies with more talented, better educated employees increase their efficiency. Companies which place ethical values at their core are preferred by qualified employees.

Lastly, investors value being ethical. In the globalized world, forming partnerships and attracting investors is more important than ever. Companies which are able to attract sufficient investment are able to actualize their ideas. Trust is paramount to an outside investor. If it is apparent that the company is ethical investors will more easily do business with the company.”

- The social aspect of the issue

“In addition to the economics of the situation, there is also the social aspect to consider stated Hisarcıklıoğlu and went on, “We shape our lives the way we earn them. An establishment devoid of ethical values will neither bring prosperity to its owner nor any benefit to its country in the long run. We have a suitable saying for this, ‘The trick is honesty’. We have to do our part in ensuring the development of ethics in the business community, calling unethical behavior to question and preventing unfair competition.”

- Akhism culture example

Emphasizing that the most significant example of business ethics is the culture engendered by Akhism, the TOBB President stated that the congress is being held on a very fortuitous date. Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “This week is being celebrated as the Akhism Culture Week and Craftsmen’s Holiday by the Customs and Commerce Ministry.

Closing the week, we are holding a congress to thoroughly discuss the issue of business ethics.

Akhism is the basis for business ethics in our society. The Akhi organization was responsible for training the Turkish business community in arts and professions as well as developing its business ethics from the 13th century to the end of the 19th century. Although known mainly as a vocational organization, it also had a strong ethical core. In fact “akhi” means brother in Arabic. The essence of Akhism, whether you are a carpenter or tailor; lorimer or jeweler, is to be ethical.

Just as many Akhi Elders have said, ‘No venture undertaken wrongly brings prosperity, and never for long’.

- “Don’t measure falsely, don’t weigh lightly”

TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu concluded his speech with the counsels of Akhi Evran who laid the foundations of the Akhism culture: “Do not look for ill-gotten gains. Be right, patient and resilient. Don’t lie. Don’t speak before your elders do. Deceive nobody. Be content, do not covet worldly goods. Don’t measure falsely, don’t weigh lightly. Remember to be forgiving when you are in power and have superiority; remember to act kindly when you are angry. Be generous enough to give even when you yourself are in need. Keep your hand, door and table open; your eyes, mouth and belly closed!”

Following TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu’s speech additional speeches were given by the Minister of Customs and Commerce Hayati Yazıcı, Prime Minister Deputy Beşir Atalay and the President of TÜRMOB Nail Sanlı, emphasizing the importance of ethics in business and the significance of the congress for the Turkish business community.

Plaques were presented to the speakers and the ministers after their speeches.

The congress will end on the 22nd of September, Saturday. Attending the sessions will be Central Bank former President Süreyya SerdenGeçti, TOBB Board Vice President Halim Mete, Dokuz Eylül University School of Business Dean Prof. Dr. Yasemin Arbak.

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