Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“Turkey’s economy is one of the most important actors in the region”

07.11.2013 / Stockholm / Sweden

TOBB/DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, in his speech at the Turkey – Sweden Business Forum, said, “Today, Turkey is one of the most important actors with its competitive economy driven by sustainable growth.”​

The Turkey – Sweden Business Forum took place in Stockholm with the attendances of TOBB/DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Sweden Minister of the Treasury Anders Borg, Business Sweeden CEO Bo Dankis, TİM President Mehmet Büyükekşi.


Speaking at the Forum, TOBB/DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the global economy is entering a new period of change; that Europe and neighboring regions are reshaped by financial crises and public movements, while Turkey continues to grow and develop with stable steps despite it all.


- Turkey is one of the most important actors in the region with its economy


Emphasizing that this success is built upon strong foundations, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “In the last 10 years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has advanced significantly both in regards of politics as well as economics. Turkey is able to compete today, has a strong workforce and is one of the most important actors in the region with its economy based on sustainable growth.


Turkey is the region’s largest industrial manufacturer, the largest industrial exporter, the largest logistical center and the country with the most robust financial system.”


Stating that Turkey is the largest industrial goods supplier in the region with an export portfolio comprised almost completely of industrial goods, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We have even greater goals. We have much more ground to cover, many more steps to take. In this regard, we are following Sweden’s economic development very closely.”


- The fresh blood Sweden needs is Turkey


TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that, at a time when developed economies are slowing down while developing countries gain momentum, Sweden needs fresh blood to maintain its strong economic structure and will find it in Turkey with its dynamic and young population, developing economy and profitable investment environment.


Reminding that 265 Swedish capital companies have already invested 3.3 billion USD Turkey, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We, the Turkish private sector, invite more Swedish companies to Turkey. Come and invest in Turkey, trade with Turkish companies. Let us all profit together.”


- Economic and political cooperation


Stating that they are interested in cooperation in all fields, the TOBB President went on, “In addition to economic cooperation, we believe that political cooperation is also of the utmost importance.


As you well know, Turkey has been on the path to the EU since the signing of the Ankara Agreement in 1963. There have been quite a few milestones during this journey


Joining the Customs Union in 1996, with our membership being ratified in 1999 during the Helsinki Summit and the beginning of negotiations in 2005 are among the many milestones we’ve passed during this process.


This journey which we started with great keenness, is in danger of losing momentum in terms of interest. According to the German Marshall Fund’s research, the support for Turks’ membership to the EU has fallen from 73% in 2004 to 44% today.


The primary reason for this is the unjust obstacles put up by some member countries, unfair treatment and double standards.”


- Hisarcıklıoğlu relayed the problems


Relaying the problems they face as the business community, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that Turkish entrepreneurs are still subject to visas when entering the EU market; that they are unable to understand why Turkish businessmen who would be benefiting everyone with their business in Europe are still subject to visa obstacles.


Drawing attention to another problem, transportation quotas, the TOBB President stated that these quotas are contrary to the very tenets of the customs union.


Expressing that many problems stem from the FTAs signed with third countries, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “One of the most significant recent developments are the negotiations taking place between the USA and the European Union for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.”


Turkey’s inclusion in TTIP will benefit both Europe and Turkey greatly. It should not be forgotten that Turkey is the gateway to a billion USD market spanning the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa.


In the spirit of the Customs Union, we believe that Turkey should be a party to these negotiations and I can clearly state that we expect an invitation to the TTIP negotiations from the European Union.


As the Turkish and Swedish business people, we’ve always felt the political body stand with us in solving our problems to this day. Once again, we need the support of our ministers in solving these issues.”

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