Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

Turkey will be an economic giant of not only its region but of the whole world

15.05.2018 / Ankara

74th General Assembly of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges Turkey (TOBB) was held with wide participation at the TOBB Economy and Technology University. TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated in his speech that they are confident of the business community, “Our goals are immense. Turkey will be an economic giant of not only its region but of the whole world.”​

TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the real power to attain success is through unity and solidarity, “We focused on 4 main issues throughout this process. First, we increased the strength and capacity of our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges. The second issue we focused on was lobbying for our private sector abroad. We have a say in many global business organizations which we were not even able to join in the past. We have become a community which advocates the interests of our private sector all over the world. Our third priority has been to take initiative in national affairs. Fourth, we generate ideas for the increased prosperity of Turkey; we are producing projects.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu’s speech at the TOBB 74th General Assembly is as follows:

“Dear Chairman of the General Assembly and Presidents of the Council, estimable Chairpersons of the Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, Chairpersons of the Sector Councils, Secretaries General, General Assembly Delegates, distinguished Colleagues, distinguished members of the press, I greet you all with the utmost affection and respect on behalf of my person and the TOBB Board of Directors.

Welcome to our 74th General Assembly; you’ve honored us with your presence. I would like to pray for the grace of Allah upon the dear, departed friends and members of our community before I begin.

On the other hand, I strongly condemn Israel's inhuman attack on the people of Palestine yesterday; may Allah grant his grace upon those who were killed and rapid healing for those who survived.

We stressed how erroneous the US administration's decision to move its embassy in Jerusalem to Israel was, ignoring international law.

Unfortunately, deaths in Gaza have made our region, already tense, even more volatile.

We can never accept these attacks.

Palestine and Jerusalem are not alone.

On Friday, along with President Erdoğan, our Prime Minister and our Ministers, we presented the Service Commendations for our friends who have served for several decades.

Tomorrow, blessed Ramadan begins.

I pray that Ramadan is fortuitous for our country and the Muslim world.

May it bring peace, brotherhood and tranquility.

Estimable Presidents, Distinguished Delegates,

We are finishing a long election period which began the elections of our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

You’ve passed the democracy test successfully.

You’ve earned the right to represent the private sector.

You have been chosen by hundreds of thousands of merchants, industrialists all over the country.

You're here with the power of democracy and the ballot.

During the elections, 42% of the Chairpersons and 50% of council members of Chambers and the Commodity Exchanges have changed.

I heartily congratulate all the chairpersons and board members elected.

I am pleased to welcome the newly elected president and delegates who are new members of this great family.

Dear friends,

I feel peace and happiness in having successfully completed a challenging period.

Praise be to Almighty for having made this possible.

In the term between 2013 and 2018, we launched many projects which both served our members and contributed to our country's economy.

You’ve just watched the presentation.

All these activities, all these achievements are the result of your labors and your efforts.

Whatever we did, what we succeeded in, we took our power from you, we did it with your support.

We are united, greater and more vigorous.

Our voice thunders.

Standing united, we overcame the obstacles in our way; we forged new paths.

With the Akhi motto of, ‘the straight arrow flies true,’ we flew true.

We protected the rights and laws of our country, our nation, our community.

We never discriminated under this roof.

We opened our hearts and minds to different voices, different thoughts.

We always adhered to the tenet that consultation is tradition.

We became the voice and the heart of Anatolia.

This unity is your work.

I congratulate each of you individually and express my deepest gratitude.

I am deeply grateful to all our friends and associates in the Board of Directors, in our Councils, in our Committees and in our Commissions.

Dear friends,

In this process we focused on 4 main issues.

First, we increased the power and capacity of our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

The time when you would go from door to door to establish a company is over.

We have transformed our chambers into one-stop-shops for company establishment.

In our Chambers and Commodity Exchange, we achieved digital transformation.

We've made it so that all operations can be made with a single keystroke.

All of our chambers took on responsibility. Our Organized Industrial Zones developed and industry spread throughout Anatolia.

Our Commodity Exchanges brought electronic sales halls, accredited laboratories and livestock exchanges to the service of the real sector.

Until recently we had no personnel with foreign language skills.

Today, Chambers and Commodity Exchanges have become signatories to international projects.

We are obtaining resources from abroad and working with European Chambers.

The number of accredited chambers and exchanges increases every year.

At present, 269 Chambers and Exchanges are accredited, 5-starred.

They have been certified with the same service, same quality as the best Chambers in Europe.

Today, Turkish Chamber-Commodity Exchange system is one of the three most advanced Chamber-Exchange systems that serve the most members in the world.

Abroad they say that if you want the private sector in your country to develop, establish a Chamber/Exchange system similar in structure to that of Turkey.

This honor, this pride, your success is yours.

I sincerely applaud you, the Chamber and Exchange Chairpersons, administrations, Council Presidents, Councils, Occupation Committees and the Secretaries General, all of you in this sail, for working day and night without a single centime in return for your nation and country, dedicating yourselves to the growth and development of this community.

Thank you!

The second issue we focused on was lobbying for our private sector abroad.

We have a say in many global business organizations which we were not even able to join in the past.

We have become a community which advocates the interests of our private sector all over the world.

The world's largest business organization, the International Chamber of Commerce, Europe's largest business organization EUROCHAMBRES, the Islamic business organization Islamic Commerce-Industry Chamber, the Asia-Pacific Confederation.

Through elections we have joined all of them. We are the voice of the Turkish business world.

Our third priority has been to take initiative in national affairs.

In the treacherous coup d'état attempt on July 15th, as soon as heard the coup d'état declaration, we reacted.

We declared that: ‘We reject this coup. We stand with the elected legitimate government.’

We invited all our members to take to the streets and defend democracy.

In the period of increased terrorist attacks, we organized Turkey’s largest march with to say, ‘no to terrorism; yes to solidarity.’

We went to the frontlines and showed our support for our government during Operation Olive Brach in Afrin.

I will say it again:

This community will always stand by its government and nation.

Fourth, we generate ideas for the increased prosperity of Turkey; we are producing projects.

In every important issue, this community has been asked to contribute.

This was the case with Employment Mobilization, with facilitation of access to financial tools, in Turkey's Automobile.

This is respect; it is power.

This is the power of the Turkish private sector. This is the power of our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

This is the power of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.

We know that your prosperity is Turkey’s prosperity.

With this knowledge, we have taken many steps to solve the problems of our members.

Vocational training was a major challenge.

For the first time, the private sector has become a party in vocational education through our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

We have been vouched for 35bn EUR for international transportation so that our companies can export more.

We have become the largest TIR carrier in the world.

We've modernized all of our large land customs gates.

Through the Credit Guarantee Fund, we made it easier for SMEs to access financing.

We vouched for our members.

With the TOBB Respite Credit, our SMEs received loans with the lowest interest rate ever applied.

Approximately 700,000 of our members have access to affordable credit.

My dear friends,

We have saying in our culture: Do not exacerbate; facilitate.

We have identified the obstacles facing the business and investment environment and removed them together with the government.

We have made it possible to reduce employment costs, the subject of many complaints.

The legislation on occupational health and safety brought great burdens to our SMEs of which we liberated them.

We also took immediate initiative in regards to Vocational Qualification.

We have provided examination and certification services 81 provinces pertaining to hazardous professions.

Confidence in cheques was lost.

Here again, we accomplished a first.

We implemented the QR-coded cheques to reestablish confidence in cheques.

We ensured reduced real estate tax burden on the industrialists.

In real-estate, home appliances and furniture taxes were lowered with our suggestion.

Air and cruise travel support for the tourism sector was implemented through our request.

We had our insurance agencies covered by the SME.

We have narrowed the scope of the stamp tax which we have always complained about and have been demanding for years.

For the taxpayer who regularly pay their taxes, a 5% tax reduction has finally been introduced.

We also started work on our demand for VAT receivables.

We expect this to happen.

A 50-year dream in agriculture has become a reality.

We have launched the Licensed Warehousing System.

We took the first step for the Specialized Commodity Exchanges.

Another area where we suffered great distress was the judicial system.

Especially in the cases of the Labor Courts, 99% of which unfairly punished employers.

In order to address this, the mandatory mediation system was put into practice.

Cases which lasted months, even years, are now resolved in days and weeks.

With this in mind, I would like to thank the President, Prime Minister, Ministers and the TGNA who have always supported us, as well as our bureaucrats who worked together with us on behalf of our community.

My dear friends,

Praise Allah, all these endeavors have yielded results.

Despite terrorist organization attacks domestically and internationally, our private sector has worked and produced.

Turkey's economy showed rapid recovery and growth.

Members of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges wrote a new success story last year.

We provided 1.5 million additional jobs.

We invested 327bn TRY in machinery and equipment.

We exported goods worth 160bn USD.

We have gained 44bn USD in tourism and transportation revenues.

We showed the whole world what this nation could do.

We managed all of this with you.

We were successful through the modern vision shown by our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

For this reason, I thank and celebrate each representative of the Turkish private sector filling this hall!

Dear friends,

Are there no problems? Of course there are.

We are aware of them and we discuss them with the government and work to solve them.

After the June 24th elections, we will strive to follow and conclude them.

We have a lot of work to do.

The business community has to run faster to get our country where it deserves.

In order for the business world to run faster, we have to forge ahead and pave the way.

We will open Arbitration and Mediation Centers in our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

We will spread our products with geographical signs and halal food certificates first in our country and then in the world.

We will complete our promise of schools for all 81 provinces and start construction of new schools for the 160 counties where our Chambers and Commodity Exchanges are located.

We will work harder in the new period, work faster and work more efficiently.

First, we must transform our SMEs into global SMEs.

With Industry 4.0 we have to take our industry to the next level.

We must ensure domestic production and imports of smart and high quality products produced in Turkey.

We must enter new markets with new products by launching an e-commerce and e-export drive.

Turkey should become the entrepreneurial base of this region.

We must make the vocational education system fully integrated with the private sector in order to address the need for qualified personnel.

We are ready to do our part for these goals.

Distinguished Presidents and Delegates,

Together with you until today, we have many dreams into reality.

We will turn many things which seem as far away as dreams today into reality tomorrow.

We will never yield to despair.

We will push away dissent.

We will not alienate anybody; we will not see anyone as the ‘other’.

All will accept our differences as richness, Turkey will grow even more with this wealth.

We have confidence in ourselves.

Our goals are great.

Turkey will be an economic giant of not only its region but of the whole world.

The greater share of international contractors in the world will come from Turkey.

Turkish logistics will carry the most cargo.

Turkish hotels will host the greatest number of tourists.

Turkish retailers will have distribution networks around the world.

Turkey will be a country that exports the highest number of industrial goods.

Everywhere in our region, we will have projects and investments.

Turkish farmers will feed not only our country but the whole world.

Turkish goods will be preferred for their quality, not price.

International investors will be in line to partner with Turkish companies.

At least one Turkish commodity will be used in every house in the world.

My very precious companions,

This country, entrusted unto us by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and our noble martyrs, will rise on all of our shoulders and become a global leader again.

We will all do it together.

Because the real power which will lead us to success is our unity.

I am honored to be your co-worker.

Allah grant that our hearts be rich, our labors and efforts fruitful, our nation united and vigorous, our brotherhood perpetual.

We're open, open for the moment.

May our path and fortunes be clear.

May Allah be our helper and companion.”

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