Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“Women Entrepreneurs Council members worked with great devotion in the earthquake region”

08.03.2023 / ANKARA

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB) President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu attended the workshop organized by the TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council on the occasion of March 8th Women's Day.​

Hisarcıklıoğlu, who stated that they experienced the 8th of March International Women's Day in a bittersweet way this year, said, “As you know, we have experienced a terrible earthquake disaster based in Kahramanmaraş and Hatay, which directly affected 11 provinces and approximately 14 million people. According to the latest information, we have lost nearly 50,000 lives. 230,000 buildings were found to be ruined, to be demolished urgently and severely damaged. The number of people who are homeless or in need of shelter has reached a total of 1.7 million people. We have also lost friends and members from our community. I wish mercy from Allah to those who lost their lives in the earthquake and urgent healing to our wounded. Our deepest condolences to our nation.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that they created a crisis desk in Ankara on the first day of the earthquake by asking what we can do for our country and provinces, “We sent 10 of our colleagues to the provinces and districts most affected by the earthquake to coordinate and determine the needs. We have identified emergency contact points from the Chambers and Exchanges in the region. In coordination with 43 Chambers and Commodity Exchanges in 11 provinces, we acted together with our Chambers, Commodity Exchanges, Sector Councils, Women and Young Entrepreneur Councils all over Türkiye. We ensured that the search and rescue equipment and all kinds of necessities were delivered to the region. With the coordination of the Chambers and Commodity Exchanges in the region, we quickly distributed all these to those in need. As TOBB and the Chamber-Commodity Exchange community, we have acted in a great mobilization spirit since the first day. We have delivered 6 aircraft, 7 ships and 3,900 trucks of relief materials, 41 trucks of tents, 970 containers, 141 mobile kitchens, 551 construction machines and mobile cranes to the region.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu, stating that they were always in contact with the Women Entrepreneurs Council Presidents throughout this process, said, “As our board members, you have worked with great devotion and identified the needs in the field. You have tried to catch up everywhere by acting collectively without making any distinction between center and village. You have done tremendous work to meet the needs of earthquake victims. Some of our women entrepreneurs voluntarily took part in search-and-rescue efforts. Some of them also provided various aids to heal the wounds in rural areas. I won't be able to name them one by one here, but I know that you have organized business people without sleeping for hours or even days, you have organized the aid with great devotion. You did not leave our earthquake victims alone. I thank you all individually and I am proud of you. May Allah be pleased with your efforts.”

TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu, emphasizing that they went to the region 4 times, saw the disaster on the site, and shared the pain of the citizens, said: “In this troubled time, we have witnessed that both our people and our private sector have shown an example of solidarity that will be an example to the world. It was almost as if 70 of our provinces flooded into the region. For those who have experienced disaster in such difficult times, it is paramount they know that they are not alone. This is what it takes to be a nation. We are all one with our earthquake victim brothers and sisters. We are united to bring them back to a normal life. We have conveyed the demands from the region regarding the economic measures, incentives and supports to be taken after the earthquake and the legislative arrangements to our Ministers, and we are following them. A significant number of them have also come to life. But we're not done yet.

For those of us who represent the private sector of our country, the real work starts from now on. We will heal our wounds. We will renovate and build our cities affected by the earthquake. We're going to get it back on its feet. In this context, with the participation of our business world and philanthropists, we are launching the campaign to build permanent housing in the earthquake zone very soon. We will explain the details shortly. On this occasion, we call on our women and young entrepreneurs and all our philanthropists to support the housing campaign.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu talked about the projects they have started and said, “With our project from the Supplier Earthquake Region, we invite our companies, especially large-scale ones, to meet their raw material and semi-finished product supplies from the companies in the earthquake region. I expect the active participation and support of our Women Entrepreneurs Council. Let's make our supply of goods and services from the disaster zone and let's get the businesses in this region back on their feet. In addition, we have started to work to ensure that food retailers operating on a national scale meet their purchases of agricultural and food products and raw materials from the earthquake region. We continue to work to ensure that e-commerce marketplaces do not receive commissions from companies in the earthquake region. So far, 2 marketplaces have announced that they have participated in this campaign. In order to revive employment and economic activity and to reactivate the damaged production facilities, we are launching a technical support campaign with the contributions of our members.Apart from these, we also want to receive your opinions and suggestions.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “The day is first and foremost a day of being one, being together, coming together and embracing with the same feeling. The day is a day for unity. Together we will overcome these gloomy and sorrowful days.”

Pointing out that almost all of Türkiye is dealing with fault lines and earthquakes, Hisarcıklıoğlu continued: “It is impossible for us to change or ignore this fact. That is why we need to work on how to be better prepared for subsequent disasters. After the fire disaster we recently experienced, our TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council took a very active role. Today you should discuss what can be done specifically for the 11 provinces. Also, Allah forbid, if we experience a disaster of this magnitude again, we should talk about how we can contribute as the Women Entrepreneurs Council. We will heal our wounds together with the spirit of solidarity and mobilization.I would like to take this opportunity to thank once again our TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council president and TOBB Provincial Women Entrepreneurs Council Presidents and Board members who are also on the ground in the earthquake region and who did not spare their support for the earthquake victims at any time.”

- TOBB KGK President Öztürk

TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council President Nurten Öztürk said that as TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council, they have been united since the first moment of the earthquake and have built a very beautiful bridge of hearts. Öztürk stated that they tried to add life to the souls and to be a balm for the wounds as much as they could, and that they did not give up where they were not enough, and that they needed continuity to live.

Nurten Öztürk, as the TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council under the coordination of chambers and commodity exchanges, shared the work they have done in this process and stated that they have been and will continue to make efforts day and night to overcome these difficult days together and to deliver the aid to their places.

Öztürk said that with the workshop they will hold today, they aim to design forward-looking projects and applications that will accelerate the transition to the “healing and resilient society” stages based on the needs of 11 cities declared as “Disaster Zones”, and that the outputs of the workshop they will carry out on the topics of physical needs, economic needs and psychosocial needs will guide them as prescriptions.

Stating that “We must keep the region afloat”, Nurten Öztürk said, “We must find permanent solutions to ensure that earthquake victims find a place in society again and to be employed. For this, as public and non-governmental organizations, we should work in common mind and determine our road map. We should integrate our earthquake victim guests from other provinces during their stay in our provinces, but more importantly, we should strive to strengthen them to return to their own lands. We will not be prisoners of pessimism. We will not stop dreaming of the future. These days will pass. As long as we keep hope. We know that we will be stronger in common solidarity.”

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