President of the Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Hisarcıklıoğlu has been elected to the board of directors of the ICC, called “the Merchants of Peace” in the western business world with world giant companies from 89 countries.​


Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

Hisarcıklıoğlu joined the administration of the Merchants of Peace

29.06.2012 / Paris France


President of the Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Hisarcıklıoğlu has been elected to the board of directors of the ICC, called “the Merchants of Peace” in the western business world with world giant companies from 89 countries.​


Attending the plenary session in Paris with TOBB Board Vice President Murat Yalçıntaş and Tanıl Küçük, TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu was elected to the board of directors of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which has members from 89 countries.

Hisarcıklıoğlu is the second Turkish businessman to be elected to the board after Rahmi Koç who presided over it in 1995-1996. DEİK Executive Board President Rona Yırcalı is still serving as World Chambers Federation President in the ICC.

The World Chambers Federation, International Arbitration and World Business Law Institute are part of the ICC. Hisarcıklıoğlu will have say in these Boards as well by entering the ICC Board. ICC is comprised of 89 countries’ chamber unions and 124 members including world giants such as AT&T, British Tobacco, Shell, Procter and Gamble, Unilever, Rostchild.

- “NATO Secretary General opened my eyes”


Making an announcement following the election, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu drew attention to the importance of Turkey taking part in international organizations. Stating that he became the TOBB President in 2001, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We wanted to undertake a project for Eurochambres. We asked all of our chambers whether they had English speaking personnel. We received replies from only 5 chambers. Nobody except the Foreign Economic Relations Department Head knew a foreign language at TOBB. Out of 365 chambers only 5 knew a foreign language.  There was never a project.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu went on, “It was the NATO Secretary General at the time that opened my eyes. We were invited to Brussels. The Secretary General said, ‘As NATO, we know the value of Turkey and we protect its rights on every platform. However you need to be active in international platforms.” We took action in accordance with this warning. We made a list of the political institutions in which we were members. We immediately changed our hiring policies. Hiring family and friends ended. We designated new criteria. Today, 160 of the 320 TOBB employees speak English. This is all without swelling personnel numbers. The staff I inherited from Fuat Miras was 300 people. We hired replacements for those who retired, it is now 320 people.”

Stating that he has made it his goal to hold presidential or board offices in all international institutions, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that as a result of the steps taken to improve the quality of the institution, the number of chambers without English speaking personnel has dropped down to 10, the Bingöl Chamber of Commerce and Industry has started undertaking joint projects with Europe.

- Peace comes with trade

TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they have come to a point wherein they are providing training to the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, European Chambers Union and OECD.
Drawing attention to the importance of the ICC and commerce, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “ICC was established in 1919 following the war under the slogan, ‘Merchants of Peace’. The merchants also established the EU after WWII. The most important component of peace and democracy is commerce. The more commerce develops, hostilities decrease.”

Stating that the ICC also encompasses the International Arbitration Council and the World Business Law Institute, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “In arbitration, international conflicts are resolved. This is where the Uzan case was assessed. The Law Institute is where the rules of world law are formulated. We used to keep an eye on the National Assembly. Now the national parliaments are subject to the rules set forth in Brussels, Paris and Washington. You don’t make the rules. You take make the decision to comply. If you do not take part in these organizations then you can’t preserve the rights of your people.”

- “Our goal is to fly Turkey’s flag”

Stating that they have achieved the goal of representing Turkey in international institutions, that he has become the Vice President of the World Chambers Union, Eurochambres, the first Turk from a non-European to do so in the institution’s history with a landslide vote, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We are taking part in many administrations ranging from the Islamic Chamber of Commerce to the Mediterranean Chambers Union. Rahmi Koç was a President of the ICC. Our goal is to fly Turkey’s flag. Our goal isn’t to attain office, prestige or titles.”

- Nominations is required for taking part in the administration, not volunteering

Providing information regarding the process of election in the ICC, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “108 countries take part. The elite choose. There is a committee to designate candidates for the election. Committee researches who would be the most beneficial to the institution. This means that declaring candidacy is not enough by itself. You activities and proficiency is investigated. The designated candidates receive invitation. If they accept the motion is carried to the board of directors. The committee assess the report. If accepted in the board of directors, the secretary general calls you. Lastly this is presented to the plenary session.”

- War on counterfeits soon

Stating that they will be starting a new campaign, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “It will be a campaign against counterfeits. The slogan will be ‘I buy real’. Additionally Turkey will be hosting the G20 in 2015. In this regard, we will be the organizers of the B20.

- Important companies on the ICC board

Hisarcıklıoğlu listed some of the companies and directors; Harold McGraw III (McGraw Hill-USA), Manfred Gentz (Zurich Financial Services-Germany), Andreas Schmid (Oettinger Davidoff Group-Switzerland), Victor Fung (Li&Fung Companies-Hong Kong), Gerard Worms (Rotschild-France), Andrea Tomat (Lotto Sport-Italy), Mikio Sasaki (Mitsubishi Corporation-Japan), Sebastian Escarrer Jaume (Melia Hotels-Spain), Kees van der Waaj (Unilever-Netherlands), John Buchanan (Vodafone-United Kingdom).


- International Chamber of Commerce

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) was established in 1919 by the business worlds of Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Italy and USA. The ICC, established with the slogan “Merchants of Peace,” after WWII, organized the Oslo Business for Peace Awards with the Oslo Business for Peace Foundation. ICC’s primary strength is that it is represented in every geography, is able to reflect the views of organization in every sector, multinational companies as well as SMEs. In its administrative body are the World Chambers Federation, the International Arbitration Council and the World Business Law Institute.

- National Committees and Membership

ICC has national committees in 89 countries, members in 124 countries and is represented in countries wherein it does not have national committees through chambers. It has over 8,000 members. (Such world giants as AT&&, British American Tobacco, Daimler, Coca Cola, DHL, IBM, Microsoft, Nestle, Pfizer, Procter&Gamble, Philips, Shell, Toyota, Uni Lever are among its members).


- ICC Technical Committees

There are 16 technical committees under the ICC aegis. These are: Combating Corruption, Arbitration, Banking Technique and Application, Trade Law and Application, Competition, Institutional Social Responsibility and Combating Corruption, Customs and Commerce, Digital Economy, Economic Policy, Environment and Energy, Financial Services and Insurance, Intellectual Property Rights, Advertisement and Marketing, Taxation, Commerce and Investment Policy, Transportation and Logistics.

ICC Turkey is strongly represented in the Arbitration and Banking Technique and Applications Committees. ICC Turkey has newly established Advertisement and Marketing, Competition and Intellectual Property Rights Committees. Turkey hosted last year’s (November 2012) ICC Transportation and Logistics Committee’s meeting.


- ICC International Arbitration Council

Established in 1923, it is one of the most deep rooted and prestigious committees. It is the ICC’s backbone and the most important avenue of income. It aims to resolve conflict in commerce and investments before having to resort to court intervention.

ICC arbitration rules have been updated and entered into effect at the start of 2012. ICC arbitration determines the manner of court proceedings. Turkish arbiters are becoming more active in the ICC Arbitration Council, of which Prof. Dr. Ziya Akıncı is a member of. In 2011 the number of arbitration cases in which Turkish arbiters participated in was 16 with the number of cases involving Turks reaching 46.

- ICC Turkey

ICC Turkey, established in 1934, is one of the oldest and deeply rooted national committees of the ICC. It became a part of TOBB in 1953. ICC Turkey has its own place within TOBB legislature and the TOBB President is always also the President of ICC Turkey. One of the most active national committees, ICC Turkey actively contributes to committee efforts.

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