The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We must prepare the new constitution together. In the days ahead, we must channel our energies into this, not the ground.”


Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

We must prepare the new constitution together

27.06.2011 / İstanbul

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We must prepare the new constitution together. In the days ahead, we must channel our energies into this, not the ground.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu, speaking at the 49th General Assembly of the Economic Development Foundation (İKV) said that the İKV President Prof. Dr. Haluk Kabaalioğlu had completed successful term in office, accomplishing successful projects and activities in Turkey, Brussels and EU member states to keep Turkey in the headlines.

Stating that the EU membership process needs to be at the forefront of the EU and Turkey’s agenda, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We are all aware of the possible obstructions to Turkey’s membership process. Turkey’s full membership means sustainable economic development, high democratic standards, security of the law, personal freedoms, gender equality and the welfare state. EU membership and the economic, social and political reforms required for membership are our own concerns.”

Of the 35 chapters in the membership negotiations, 13 have been initiated and worse, only 1 chapter negotiation has been temporarily concluded said Hisarcıklıoğlu, whereas Croatia, who started negotiations at the same time as Turkey has almost completed them and that there is talk of full membership by 2013.

“At a certain point,” stated Hisarcıklıoğlu, “we must look to ourselves. Croatia who started the process at the same time as we did is close to concluding negotiations on almost 35 chapters, it would be wrong of us to look for fault on EU’s part. We, unfortunately, have not done our homework. We must reach these standards as soon as possible with the necessary reforms. In the days ahead, with the establishment of the new government and the start of the new work term of the Grand National Assembly, we must focus our energies on these and not the ground. If these were done, we as the Turkish private sector are ready to provide all necessary support.”

Speaking on the difficulties of traveling to EU states for business, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the Readmission Agreement has not been signed yet even though it has been prepared. Hisarcıklıoğlu said that carrying quotas and limitations on admission papers lessen the benefits of the customs union.

Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “The payments for admission papers are an extra cost for importers and exporters. It’s not an issue of transportation; it is an extra cost for importers and exporters.”

Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that no solutions have been forthcoming in regards to the obstacles stopping the Free Trade Agreement from being signed.

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that if Turkey wants to be in the top 10 economies by 2023, it needs to take part in the world’s largest markets, “Europe has gone into crisis and looks to be headed on that course. Where do we need to be when these markets dry up? In the USA, Mexico, there are 400 million living at the EU standards in China and India. The EU’s population is 400 million as well. We are, unfortunately, not present in these markets. There are extraordinary opportunities. We need to widen our perspective. This will aid us in our membership negotiations with the EU.”

Stating that elections are celebrations of democracy, Hisarcıklıoğlu went on to say that the June 12, 2011 elections have been conducted without problems as a celebration of Turkish democracy, “Now Turkey has to start talking about its actual agenda. The EU membership process presents a good roadmap for us. If we are looking to focus our energy, this should be the target. The EU membership process must be hastened by the inclusion of all strata of society. The process must be taken beyond being just a diplomatic and bureaucratic effort.”

Saying that Turkey was one of the 5 fastest growing countries during the last crisis while being the 65th country on the list of ease with which it is possible to do business in, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that this was a magnificent success story for the Turkish business world.

Hisarcıklıoğlu; “It would not go amiss if we were to present a medal to every single member of the Turkish business world. No other nation could pull this off.”

The Arab Spring in North Africa and Middle East has once again brought Turkey to the forefront of EU’s agenda said Hisarcıklıoğlu, despite this some EU member states’ leader’s lack of vision and their reactions to Turkey’s joining the EU, has negatively reflected on Turkey’s works.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that he hopes that the establishment of the Ministry in charge of EU affairs will add new momentum to the work in progress.


- İKV President Prof. Dr. Haluk Kabaalioğlu

Economic Development Foundation (İKV) President Prof. Dr. Haluk Kabaalioğlu, on EU relations, “We think that with the work on the new constitution, our new government must take into account the subjects of human rights and freedom of the law in order to allay fears that we may encounter in the EU membership process.”

Kabaalioğlu said that the progress Turkey has made since 2005 in Turkey-EU relations is quite ahead of where we were in 2005. Kabaalioğlu stated that the internationally open economic growth model increase Turkey’s economic force.

The Customs Union has tripled trade between Turkey and the EU, stated Kabaalioğlu, and that the current deficit with the EU has decreased by almost half.

- “Reforms must be hastened”

Stating that after the June 12th elections the political picture stands pretty clear, Kabaalioğlu said, “For Turkey’s EU membership to remain on the table the reforms must be hastened. Without a doubt, one of the arguments for the new constitution will bear on EU value and norms as a reference.” He stated that they hoped EU would rise out of its crisis and confront Turkey with credibility, strength of character and a steady stance.

- Kabaalioğlu re-elected İKV President

Prof. Dr. Kabaalioğlu was re-elected İKV President with Board of Directors being made up of Niyazi Önen, Ömer Cihad Vardan, Yavuz Canevi, Mesut Okyay, Tamer Kıran, Ali Gizer, Selçuk Öztürk, Zeynep Bodur Okyay, Baha Telli, Adem Yılmaz, Ergun Kont, İlhan Soylu, Murat Sungurlu, Hikmet Tanrıverdi, Tuğrul Kutadgobilik and Latife Maskan.

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