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The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and various ministers attended the opening of the TOBB Turkey Economy Summit held at TOBB Twin Towers, “Under your leadership, a bold, innovative, new structural reform move, will bring us forward in global competition. At this point, I’d like to emphasize this: In legislative reforms, as before, establishing public-private dialogue mechanisms and strengthening the consultation we have always put great importance on will be very beneficial.”​

The Turkey Economy Summit,hosted by TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, was held via video conference with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vice President Fuat Oktay, Treasury and Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu and TOBB Board of Directors Members.

TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said, noting that they started the Economy Summit in 2003 under the instruction of President Erdoğan, “You’ve been there for us ever since. You gave good news in this room. As you know, we didn’t hold a General Assembly this year because of the pandemic. But thank you for coming to listen to our problems and consult on solutions. Welcome to the heart of Turkish business.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that about 3,000 people from 81 provinces and 160 districts, including the opinion leaders of their regions, Chamber and Commodity Exchange Presidents, TOBB Delegates, Women and Young Entrepreneurs and Secretaries General are viewing the Summit live, “They all worked intensively during the pandemic. They solved the problems of the provinces and districts, prepared proposals. They identified the local economic difficulties. They consulted with their members. They passed on their demands to us. So, we conveyed to our Ministers what needs to be done urgently, no matter what time it was. We worked from the ground-up. I’m proud of our community. I thank them all individually.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that they have put together all the problems and proposals for the Summit, sorting them on a provincial basis and also according to the ministries.

“The fact that you are among us, both in terms of operating the wheels of bureaucracy and seeing that we are not alone in our struggle, is very valuable to us,” Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We believe that you will bring solutions to the issues that we will bring up today, as in the past.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu reminded that many examples of this in a few months, “Especially short work allowance, you have reduced the employment burdens on our companies. To support the Domestic Market, you have made tax breaks. You’ve doubled the bail capacity of the Loan Guarantee Fund. You have offered low-cost loans to our businesses through state-owned banks. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our Ministers for all these actions. Thanks to them, every time we call, they’re always on duty. They even work in the middle of the night; they’re there for us when we need them, they solve our problems. I would like to take this opportunity to offer our sincere thanks to you and all our ministers for your efforts, on behalf of the community and on behalf of the Turkish private sector.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that the whole world is on the eve of a new era and that they should be ready for this new era in every way.

Hisarcıklıoğlu pointed out that positive news from vaccine efforts in the second half of 2021 point to a possible beginning of the recovery period. New opportunities will present themselves for our country. We see and hear this in our overseas contacts. To take these opportunities, we need to act and prepare now. Because fortune smiles upon the prepared. Opportunities aren’t accidents. Yes, we’ve crossed critical bends. But we’ve got a long, hard journey with ups and downs.

There are also new balances being established in the world. The 15 countries of the Asia-Pacific region have signed the world’s largest free trade agreement, covering 30 percent of the global economy. On the other hand, despite the discovery of the vaccine, it will take time to approve and become widespread. Therefore, we need to design a program that will allow us to be ready for the post-epidemic period as well as to give confidence to investors.

I find your statements, starting with your last group meeting, very valuable in this respect. There was a positive atmosphere with your statements. Morale’s up. The messages that the institutional structure and the legal system will be strengthened, and reforms will be accelerated have been received very positively in the business world. With investor-friendly, transparent and predictable policies, it was also important to explain that the Turkish Lira will be supported.

Again, as you have emphasized in particular, with price stability, financial stability and macroeconomic stability, Turkey will be able to re-capture the brisk growth process. Because the business world wants to look to the future, to be able to make plans. The prerequisite for increasing investments, production and employment is stability, trust and reduced uncertainties about the future. The way to do this is through price stability. Fighting inflation also requires stability in exchange rates. An environment where prices and rates are constantly increasing is decreasing the appetite for doing business and negatively affecting production and investment decisions. Therefore, it is important to ensure stability in exchange rates.

Again, your dialogue with the leaders of EU Institutions at the highest level is very important for supporting the economy and for the future of EU-Turkey relations. In this context, despite some EU leaders lacking vision, we see great benefit in keeping relations with the EU strong, updating the Customs Union and returning to a positive agenda in relations, including visa dialogue.”

A bold and innovative, a new structural reform move, launched under the leadership of President Erdoğan, will bring Turkey forward in global competition, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “At this point, I’d like to emphasize this: In legislative reforms, as before, establishing public-private dialogue mechanisms and strengthening the consultation we have always put great importance on will be very beneficial. Because in the draft law proposals, the private sector’s opinion is not taken in a timely way, causing many problems in the field. We’re ready to work and produce. This wheel won’t be stuck on this bump. Allah willing, we’re going to get through all this, and we’re going to move on. Together, we will bring Turkey back into a brisk growth process. We will continue to produce and work to make our country stronger, richer, more prosperous.”

– President Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his pleasure in meeting with participants, albeit via video conference.

“’There is an invisible path from heart to heart; it goes from heart to heart,’ As the poet said, so there is a path from us to you.” Erdoğan quoted and went on:

“We were not placed here, we did not come here under guardianship, we did not inherit it from our father, we did not come through the aristocratic canals. We came here by climbing the stairs of life one by one, as one with all segments of our nation, by personally experiencing the difficulties and possibilities. The high-minded rhetoric of those who never worked a job other than in the government during their lifetime is as the rattle of a tin can. You know best that they have no idea what the numbers on the papers in front of them mean. It is not possible to explain the economy to someone who does not yet know what the Cyprus issue is and what the opening of Maraş means, and who does not understand the diplomatic message of the image given by a delegation headed by Turkey’s President.”

Erdoğan emphasized that answer to the nation, as they always say, “It is our business world with all the segments that come out of the cherished of our nation. Like all considerations, economy and industry and trade are a business of heart, a work of dedication. We, as a politician from trade, have always stood with our entrepreneurs, industrialists, traders, tradesmen, artisans.”

– “When I called for braves, you immediately came out and aspired to this job”

Erdoğan pointed out that they give special importance to participate in the General Assembly, here and various activities of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, “When I sought out braves for the domestic car, the century-old dream of our country, you immediately came forward and aspired to this job. By fulfilling your promise in the presence of our nation, you have implemented Turkey’s automobile project step by step. Hopefully, we will bring this beautiful project to its completion with you. In the same way, in memory of the martyred Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, we have made Yassıada, which came to be known as the mourning island, an island of democracy and freedoms with you.”

President Erdoğan stated this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus, as with all other regards, the business world has been facing a unique period, noting that this year’s General Assembly of the Union of Chambers and Exchanges of Turkey was postponed.

Erdoğan underlined that they want to meet with the business world, albeit through video conferencing, because of this situation, “First of all, many of my friends watching us who are currently sick with Covid-19, I wish them all rapid recovery. May Allah grant you and all your colleagues relief as soon as possible.”

– “It’s obvious what high interest costs”

Stating that they believe that Chamber and commodity exchange representatives operating at the heart of the economy in 81 provinces and 160 districts reflect the pulse of the business world the best, President Erdoğan said:

“In the meantime, especially because of the high interest production, trade, exports, employment representatives, you as interpreters you shed light on what is happening in the field for the decision-makers. Because it’s obvious what high interest costs. Can we really invest with high interest rates? You are in this business. Can we produce employment? It’s not possible. Can we produce? That’s not possible either. Can we take serious steps towards exports? That’s not possible either. So we need to be much more careful at this point and not crush our investor under high interest rates. For this, we give special importance to consult with our business world and their representatives on everything related to the economy. In all the decisions we make, we take advantage of the common mind that we have created with you in all the steps we have taken. We talk with you, discuss and develop solutions to the problems, demands and expectations of our sectors and cities.”

Erdoğan emphasized that 365 chambers and commodity exchanges serve as locomotives in Turkey’s journey to democracy and development, which has come a long way in the last 18 years, “In addition to giving its members the most advanced services required by the age, each room and stock exchange made a very important contribution to the Turkish economy. When I sat down and talked to a lot of industrialists, a lot of our businessmen, they all told me how it went down, how it ended, and they always said, what was that? ‘He sunk me interest, he finished me interest, I paid so much interest, I pay so much interest’ is there any persecution of people who say that. Hopefully, we will reverse them, and from now on we will continue to walk towards our goals by overcoming the obstacles that have been overcome by your persuasion, diligence, persuasion and ability.”

Erdoğan said that they have implemented a large number of support packages that are free of interest, from employment to financing, especially cash flow to incentives, and that the largest loan packages, Credit Guarantee Fund bails and employment incentives implemented so far were also initiated during this period.

Erdoğan said that they postponed taxes and premiums for 6 months in dozens of sectors adversely affected by the pandemic and reminded them that they have brought long-term restructuring to accumulated public receivables, and that the law on this has been passed in Parliament.

“Now we have a new era ahead of us. We now need to focus much more strongly on manufacturing, investment, employment and exports. Together, we will leave this troubled period behind just like the previous one and hopefully reach the goal of a great and powerful Turkey. I ask you to increase your efforts and strengthen your will without ever forgetting that your President and government stands by our companies and producers.”

Pointing out that Turkey has left behind 18 years of reforms and sustainable growth at the center of its policies, Erdoğan said that with the understanding of all-out development, they have carried out services that touch every household and person in all 81 provinces.

Erdoğan expressed that, with the understanding of market economy, they have strengthened Turkey with transparent and predictable policies based on competition.

“As we do today, we have given special importance to being in consultation with all walks of life. The biggest democracy and development move in Turkey’s history began in our era. We increased our national income from $236 billion to $950 billion and our exports from $36 billion to $152 billion. By raising our national income per capita to $12,500, we raised our country to the group of upper-middle-income countries. Direct investments in our country reached $138 billion. We cut the inflation rate from 32 percent to 4 percent and brought interest rates to the lowest levels in history. As we rise confidently towards our 2023 goals as a country and nation, we suddenly encountered a huge wave of attacks inside and outside. We have overcome all these attacks, starting with the events of the Gezi Park and extending to the encircling of our borders, from the coup attempt to the traps set for our economy. While we concentrated our fight for the future with all our strength, we did not neglect the investments and the economy. Even during this period of historical struggle, we have implemented hundreds of large projects.”

– “We have achieved many things deemed impossible”

Erdoğan, pointing out that they have taken very important steps towards becoming a regional and global power, beyond self-defense, “We have undertaken many operations and many successes deemed impossible. Thanks to our strong industrial infrastructure, rich human resources and hardworking entrepreneurs focused on development, we have found new ways to overcome every challenge. The progress our country has made in the defense industry is followed with admiration all over the world.”

Erdoğan stressed that the third airport they have added to Istanbul is one of the most important infrastructures of Turkey’s vision for 2053.

“From education to health, from transportation to energy, we have implemented projects of real historical importance in all areas during this period of adversity. Even our comprehensive General Health Insurance system is a success story in itself; we understand its value much better during the pandemic with city hospitals. Here in İstanbul Atatürk Airport and Sancaktepe 1008-bed hospitals were constructed in a period of 2 months and patients can reach the hospital in 5 minutes from the plane. Why did we do all this? To fight Covid.”

– “Entering a new era in Turkey with the world”

Erdoğan emphasizing that they have taken very important steps in the fight against the pandemic, having built a huge hospital in Başakşehir as well, said:

“With the reforms we have made to pave the way for our investors, we have placed our country in 33rd place among 190 countries by rising 27 places in the ease of doing business index. To put this in context, in 2002, when the company establishment period was 38 days, we reduced the period to under 7 days. Now Turkey is entering a new era with the world through the process of change revealed by the pandemic. Our country is considered one of the rising centers of investment, production and trade. We are now at a time when even gear shifting is not enough, we need to change vehicles. We are determined to do whatever it takes to do so.”

President Erdoğan pointed out that the legal and economic reforms they have been working on for some time are preparations for this new era.

“As a government which has implemented the most established democratic and economic reforms in Turkey, of course it is our duty to implement the changes needed in the coming period. We are now on the verge of a breakthrough that will finalize our building, which we laid the foundation for, so to speak. Hopefully, our country will leave the preparatory era behind and enter the new era in full stride. We will continue to provide the most appropriate conditions for domestic and international investors in every sense. We will see our country differentiate itself in production, employment, exports and growth in a positive way. With the leading data for September, it is now certain that we will close the third quarter with strong growth. In September, our industrial production increased on both a monthly and yearly basis, a most significant success.”

– “I believe we will end the year with positive growth”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the turnover index increased by 26.2 per cent year-on-year in September, with steps in the industrial and commercial sectors.

Erdoğan also expressed his believes that they will end the year with positive growth despite difficulties caused by the pandemic and which are still ongoing, “For this, the fight against inflation is our top priority. Our goal is to reach the single digit inflation figures as soon as possible. We will continue on our way with a growth and employment-oriented understanding by maintaining fiscal discipline, improving the quality of public financing, implementing structural and micro-reforms, and not deviating from our line of change.”

Erdoğan stressed that they will solve the problems in front of them in accordance with the rules of the market economy, said:

“Of course, we are aware of the difficulties caused by the measures we have taken to prevent the outbreak. As a state, we strive to reduce these difficulties by using our facilities to the utmost capability. Hopefully next year, this will be only bitter memories, having left behind all these challenges. We know that our responsibility is heavy, but our trust, energy, enthusiasm, will for our nation is even greater. We have brought our country to today’s level of regional and global leadership with you. Hopefully, we will overcome our difficulties with you again and together we will reach the goal of a great and powerful Turkey.”

Erdoğan also expressed his satisfaction at meeting with the chamber and stock exchange presidents and wished the business world, artisans and artisans, producers, all sectors good and abundant gains.

– Commemorative tree planted in the name of President Erdoğan

Following the opening speeches, a plane tree was planted in the TOBB ETU Commemorative Forest in the name of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Tree planting was carried out by TOBB ETU Rector Yusuf Sarınay.