Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

Hisarcıklıoğlu calls for ‘economic council’

30.05.2023 / ANKARA

M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB), stated that Türkiye has completed the election process in peace, “Now it is time to leave the elections behind, to put the balances in place, and to work hard together for a more peaceful, happier and more prosperous Türkiye.”​

Hisarcıklıoğlu spoke at the Certificate of Service Honor Presentation Ceremony held at the Union headquarters within the scope of TOBB 79th General Assembly with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Trade Mehmet Muş.

Reminding that there was a major disaster at the beginning of the year, Hisarcıklıoğlu prayed for the grace of Allah for the citizens who died in the earthquakes that occurred on February 6th.

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that they came together today to present certificates of honor to the employees who have served the community for the longest time.

Stating that Türkiye completed the election process with calm and peacefulness, Hisarcıklıoğlu continued as follows: “Mr. President, you have successfully won another election with the trust of our nation. We consider your first visit to TOBB after your election very valuable in terms of showing the importance you attach to the business world and we thank you on behalf of our community. We know that you will continue to work with the same determination and faith as in the previous 21 years. We believe that you will bring new successes to our country with your reformist and executive vision. We heartily congratulate you once again. National will was manifested in the elections. Our nation made its choice with wisdom. It has appointed our President, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to lead our country into the new century of our Republic. Now it is time to put the elections behind us, to put the balances in place and to work hard together for a more peaceful, happier and more prosperous Türkiye.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu emphasized that President Erdoğan came from business life and was aware of the difficulties of production and trade. Stating that President Erdoğan has always stood by the private sector as someone who came from the real sector, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that Erdoğan listened to the problems of the sector in meetings lasting hours.

Stating that many regulations that facilitate the business and investment environment and reduce the burdens on business people have been implemented under the leadership of President Erdoğan, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Our dream of a domestic and national automobile, with which we have achieved a historical success, has again become a reality under your vision and patronage.”

Stating that they will produce for the country to be stronger, richer and more prosperous, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that they will continue to work on behalf of the Turkish private sector in every task that the state will give them.

- “We submit the organization of the TOBB Economic Council to your appreciation”

Stating that they are ready to move the country forward, Hisarcıklıoğlu said: “To make this possible, we would like to share with you the challenges we face, especially access to finance. We believe that your solution-oriented approach will give great morale to our business world. For this purpose, we would like to request your appreciation for the organization of the TOBB Economic Council under your leadership and on a date you deem appropriate, where we can convey the problems we are experiencing. We, my chamber and commodity exchange presidents, have never been in an understanding of only saving the day and being content with what is available. We have always worked and continue to work for more production, investment, employment and exports. We strive to reach new and much bigger targets in every field. Together with the problems and determinations, we are preparing solution proposals and consulting with you and our ministers.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that foreign contacts of the private sector, which represents Türkiye at the highest level abroad, should be facilitated.

“We think that our chamber and commodity exchange community also deserves green passports.” Hisarcıklıoğlu said that they believe there will be good news on this issue.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the members of the community provided more work and love with the support of President Erdoğan despite all manner of difficulties.

- President Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “Every citizen who trusts in the national will, who dreams for our country, who feels that they belong to this land, is the undisputed winner of this election.”

Expressing his pleasure to be together with the members on the occasion of the 79th General Assembly of TOBB, Erdoğan wished the General Assembly to be auspicious for TOBB, the business world and the country.

Erdoğan also expressed his condolences for those who have worked under the roof of TOBB since its establishment and have passed away.

Congratulating all members of the Union for their contributions to Türkiye’s development, growth and strengthening, Erdoğan also congratulated those who have completed 10-20-30 years or more as delegates at TOBB.

Stating that they see all 365 chambers and commodity exchanges operating in 81 provinces and all of their 1.8 million members as “Alperen”, Erdoğan said, “With you, we are a great and powerful organization.

“We have always walked with you in our struggle to serve Türkiye. Whatever we have done, we have done it together, back to back, we have achieved it together.” Erdoğan said, adding that they also faced threats against democracy together.

- “I count on your support”

Emphasizing that they repelled the attacks aiming to collapse the economy together with TOBB members, Erdoğan continued as follows:

“Together, we introduced Türkiye to the biggest investment campaigns in its history. Together, we grew the Turkish economy by an average of 5.5 percent every year. Together we brought our national income from 236 billion dollars to 1 trillion dollars. Together, we raised per capita income from $3,600 to $10,650. Together, we increased employment to 32 million despite the increase in the labor force. Together, we increased our exports from $36 billion to $255 billion and the number of tourists from 12.8 million to over 51.5 million. We made Türkiye’s automobile ‘TOGG Project’, which has been a 60-year dream of our nation, a reality with your ownership.

We have written this unique success story that has marked the last 21 years together, acting in solidarity with the public-private sector. Allah willing, we will continue on our way in the same line from now on. We will never let those who act with contradictory motivations among us. We will seek solutions to the problems our country faces together with common sense. Together with the business world, civil society and political institutions, we will hopefully build Türkiye’s Century together. I believe that our members of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye will fulfill their duties in the best way possible to achieve our goals as they have done so far. I trust in your support.”

Stating that they successfully completed one of the most important elections of history, Erdoğan noted that the parliamentary phase of the elections was concluded on May 14th and the presidential phase was concluded on May 28th.

Emphasizing that both elections were held with a dignity befitting democracy, Erdoğan said, “We performed our civic duty with a record turnout without allowing any unfortunate incidents to occur. A turnout of almost 90 percent. From here, I once again ask Allah to bring prosperity to our country, our nation and our business world. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of my citizens who reflected their preferences democratically. I especially congratulate my brothers and sisters living abroad for their high participation rates that make us all proud.”

Erdoğan thanked those who turned the night of May 28th into a festive night from Africa to Asia, from Rumelia to Palestine, from Türkiye to the Turkic Republics, and continued as follows:

“Of course, we will thoroughly evaluate the election process in all its aspects. Likewise, we will analyze the reasons behind the unprecedented enthusiasm on the streets very well. We are aware that we are experiencing a ‘fateful election’ in terms of both its meaning and its consequences. Just like on the night of July 15th, our nation has seen the unpredictable attacks against its independence and future, and stopped them by protecting its will. The seeds of discord that wanted to be sown between Turks and Kurds, Alevis and Sunnis were rejected by this blessed land, which was kneaded with the blood of our beloved martyrs. Anatolian wisdom once again prevailed over political engineering. The efforts to direct politics through terrorist organizations did not reach their goal.”

- “Every citizen who feels that they belong to this land is the winner of the election”

“The winner of the election marathon was Turkish democracy and the Turkish nation,” Erdoğan said:

“Every citizen who trusts in the national will, who dreams for our country, who feels that they belong to this land, is the undisputed winner of this election. Despite all the provocations during the campaign, every single one of our people who did not cast a shadow on the ballot box is the winner of this election. Each and every one of my brothers and sisters who reflected their will to the ballot box without paying attention to the propaganda carried out on the covers of foreign magazines and without being under any pressure is the winner of this election. The silent majority, which has been treated as pariahs in its own homeland for years, but has not deviated from law and legitimacy, is the winner of this election. Our heartbroken earthquake victims who were subjected to disgusting insults just because they had different preferences are the biggest winners of this election.

All our expatriates abroad who did not bow to the threats of terrorist organization members and ran to the polls are the winners of this election. All the oppressed and victimized people all over the world, whose eyes shine when they hear the word ‘Türkiye’, who pray for our country, who rejoice with us and grieve with us, are the winners of this election. Praise be to Allah, the national will has once again manifested itself in the most beautiful and auspicious way. Our Century of Türkiye proposal was accepted by our nation with great favor both on May 14 and May 28.”

President Erdoğan said that the people first gave the majority in the Parliament to the People’s Alliance with 323 deputies and then the Presidency to him with 52.18 percent of the vote, saying “Let stability continue and Türkiye grow” for another 5 years.

Erdoğan continued: “In fact, those who boasted that they were ‘experts in calculations’ lost nearly 40 members of parliament. The miscalculations made with the ambition of power, this time, did not work out. Let me share this calculation with you. The CHP’s number of deputies was 146 in 2018. In 2023, the number of deputies increased to 169. But of course, they hired deputies from here. There are 40 of them. When 40 rented deputies left, where did the CHP’s number of deputies drop to? It dropped to 129. Now, is this how an accountant does it? 17 deputies were dropped here. After that, I guess all CHP members who have their hearts set on it will also think about it. The old Türkiye alliance has received a red card from the nation for the second time.”

Pointing out that it is extremely meaningful that Türkiye once again rejected the proposals to return to the old system, which it had already abandoned with the April 16, 2017 referendum, Erdoğan continued as follows: “These dirty alliances, these dirty gatherings, six vice presidencies, such wrong gatherings do not fit into democracy, nor do they befit the soul root and cultural values of this nation. My nation taught this lesson at the ballot box. What did they say? First they said ‘strengthened parliamentary system’. Did it work? It didn’t. They started with that, but towards the end of the campaign they stopped using it. At this point, the system put forward by developed countries in the world, and therefore by us, has been accepted. I believe that the political institution should read this will of the ballot box correctly. It should stop imposing new impositions on issues that the people have already decided. There is no benefit in rowing against the current and rewinding history. We should completely shelve the old system discussions and focus on finalizing the Presidential Government System, which is the greatest achievement of civil politics. Now we need to say new things”, Erdoğan said that the main duty of the institution of politics is to say new things.

- “There is a lack of opposition”

President Erdoğan stated that their duty is to say new things and set new goals for the country instead of being stuck in the past.

Stating that they will record in their memories who did what, said what, where and what position they took in this election, Erdoğan made the following assessments: “But while doing this, we will definitely not allow the past to overshadow the future. This is what we and our nation expect from the opposition parties. The opposition and its supporters should immediately abandon their old provocative rhetoric that humiliates our people, polarizes and fuels tension. I hope that all opposition parties in our country now understand the fact that you cannot fight with the will manifested in the ballot box. Because one of the important shortcomings of Türkiye is that it cannot see that opposition in a democracy. There is a lack of opposition. As soon as Türkiye overcomes this, I believe that the struggle for democracy will continue in our country in a much stronger way. After making a sincere self-criticism, I believe that the opposition will also heed this call from the ballot box. We find the picture formed in both elections very valuable for our ideal of a great and strong Türkiye. Hopefully, in the coming period, we will continue to serve our country by strengthening the spirit of cooperation between state organs. And we will do this together with you, the esteemed representatives of our business world.”

Stating that they will be able to concentrate on the main issues on their agenda once the uncertainty of the election is over, Erdoğan added that they started working as of yesterday as an administration that has once again received a vote of confidence and renewed trust from the nation.

Stating that healing the wounds of the February 6th earthquakes, which were described as the disaster of the century, was their top priority, Erdoğan said that they did not neglect the earthquake victims during the campaign period and that they visited each city 3-4 times on different dates to show that they were with the disaster victims.

Erdoğan stated that they have completed the installation of more than 910,000 tents, more than 117,000 containers, and the construction process of nearly 180,000 disaster houses has started so far, and noted that a total of 650,000 houses will be built in the earthquake zone, 319,000 of which will be built within the first year.

Stating that they realized this in İzmir immediately after the earthquake and victims appreciated their sincere efforts, Erdoğan thanked the earthquake cities that gave him very strong support both on May 14th and May 28th. President Erdoğan spoke as follows:

“In the past weeks, our earthquake victims have not only struggled with the pain of their losses, but have also been the target of the most despicable insults in human history simply because of their voting preferences. From being thrown out of the hotels and guesthouses where they took shelter, to having the aid they provided shoved down their throats, they have been subjected to many unconscionable acts. Despite this, they continued to stand upright, to be stoic. We will not forget these humiliations and lynch campaigns against our earthquake victims. For whatever reason, we will not allow the wounds of our disaster victims to bleed any further. We are rebuilding all our cities destroyed by the disaster in a more magnificent and safer way than before, and we will do so as soon as possible.”

Pointing out that the cost of the earthquake to the Turkish economy amounted to 104 billion dollars, Erdoğan pointed out that commercial life, like everything else, was negatively affected in the provinces that suffered the most destruction in the earthquake, especially Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Adıyaman. Erdoğan emphasized that they will revitalize the trade in these areas with nearly 13,000 workplaces.

Referring to the problems arising from the price increases caused by inflation, President Erdoğan said, “We are determined to take steps to compensate for the welfare losses experienced by different segments of our society. We are firmly committed to our policy of not letting our citizens be crushed by inflation. During our 21 years in power, we have not compromised on this. It was us, and will be us again, who relieved our people by reducing the high inflation issue, which plagued the Turkish economy for years, to single digit figures.”

Pointing out that as the fluctuations in the global economy settle down, the positive results of this will be seen, Erdoğan said

“We will take more initiative in resolving the crises in our immediate neighborhood and work for peace and stability to prevail again in our region. Through our diplomatic relations, we will also strengthen our economic and commercial cooperation with the countries in the region. As of last night, we have held talks with nearly 110 country leaders, either through telephone diplomacy or through messages. Our agreement with all of them is as follows: “We believe that we will continue our cooperation in every field ranging from political, military, economic, commercial to cultural in a much stronger way from now on.” This is the promise. Right now, after the formation of our Cabinet, the structure in the Parliament has already been determined, we will start our visits. Likewise, there are world leaders who will come to visit us. Our goal is to establish a belt of security and peace around us, from Europe to the Black Sea, from the Caucasus and the Middle East to North Africa. We have taken many important steps towards this goal in recent years. We have resolved our differences with friendly and brotherly countries.”

Erdoğan said that they strengthened ties with the Turkic world, improved relations with the Islamic world, opened a new window to the Asian continent with the Asia Again Initiative, and established solid cooperation with African nations on a “win-win” basis.

- “We will make Türkiye the rising star of its region”

President Erdoğan reminded that during their last meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, they confirmed the agreement on the conversion of grain from the Black Sea Grain Corridor into flour to be sent to poor African countries. Erdoğan said that they strengthened Türkiye’s presence in Latin America, developed close relations with all parties in the Balkans and increased dialogue with Western countries on the axis of common interests.

Stating that they put their hands under the stone for the solution of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Erdoğan said: “We have shown that a diplomatic solution is possible through the Grain Agreement and, very importantly, through prisoner exchange. Above all, we have protected Türkiye from becoming a party to a conflict that could end in disaster. In other words, we have tried to develop our cooperation with everyone, with all countries. In the period we are in, we will continue our entrepreneurial foreign policy by supporting it with trade, energy, tourism, culture and defense. We are determined to make Türkiye the rising star of its region. Allah willing, we will do this together as we have done for the last 21 years.”

Stating that they are aware of the expectations of the business world as well as all segments of the nation, Erdoğan emphasized that they have never turned a deaf ear to the demands of the business world or ignored their problems.

Erdoğan said that they endeavored to come together with businessmen at the General Assemblies of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye, and that they discussed the issues of each city and each sector with businessmen at length at the economic councils of Türkiye every year with ministers. Underlining that these consultations will continue, Erdoğan stated the following:

“We have reaped the fruits of these consultations together in every field. We have shared many good news at the point of solving the problems with the public through these meetings. Allah willing, we will come together with you again from now on and take these steps together. We will resolve this visa problem, which has been used as a political blackmail in the recent period, as soon as possible. We will continue to work hard to pave the way for you in every field and remove the obstacles in your way. From here, I would like to address all our business world, the conjuncture in the world and in our region offers us perhaps the greatest opportunities of our history. We cannot waste these opportunities with internal debates and false agendas that will consume our energy. I would like to underline that we do not have a single moment to waste.”

Stating that Türkiye gained another 5 years of golden value with the elections on May 14 and 28, Erdoğan said that the scene on the streets from the airport to the Presidential Complex was not a picture to be forgotten.

Erdoğan said that they are aware of the weight of their burden and that they will utilize the next 5 years to the fullest. President Erdoğan continued as follows:

“You have also seen it. During the election period, there was no lie they did not tell, no slander they did not espouse. They told all kinds of lies that they have not done or could not do until today. As businessmen, you already know very well what can be done and what cannot be done. But such lies, such lies have been put forward that, in fact, of course, human beings are faced with such things and say, ‘Would he do it? Would he do such a thing?’ They ask themselves the question. What’s important? ‘Let’s get through this election’. What you have done so far is obvious. What have you done? You have more than 10 metropolitan mayors. What have these mayors done in İstanbul? What did they do in Ankara? What did he do in İzmir? Prove these things, say, ‘We have done this too’. Unfortunately, they don’t say what they have done. But I live in İstanbul, I live in Ankara, I follow and see İzmir all the time.”

As of May 29, those who claimed that the nation would not be able to withdraw money from the bank “pressed all the buttons” until the delusion that the exchange rate and vegetable prices would skyrocket, Erdoğan emphasized:

“What happened? Yesterday was May 29th. What happened, did the banks all close down? Have they all emptied their vaults? What happened? It’s all lies. But you know, the liar’s candle burns until midnight. Now we have left it behind. They displayed all kinds of ugliness, including market speculation, in order to instill fear in the public and the business world. They ran the most disgraceful campaign in our political history just to get a couple more votes. No matter what they did, they could not succeed. They were going to hand over the economy of this country to the London loan sharks, they could not. They failed to scare and panic our business world. Allah willing, they will not be able to achieve these goals in the future. I ask you not to give a premium to the doomsayers who constantly paint bad pictures about the Turkish economy every time they open their mouths. You know these things best. These are the losers who want to make the nation a partner in their own defeats.”

President Erdoğan stated that they will ignore them, focus on their own agenda and try to make the best use of the opportunities at their disposal, as they have been doing for 21 years.

Stating that they will seek to find new markets and new customers, Erdoğan said, “We will both attract investments to our country and make investments in those countries. We will produce more and export more. And we have 5 principles in this regard. Growth through investment, employment, production, export and current account surplus. Can our country achieve this? We can and we will. Allah willing, we will create employment for more people. We will endeavor to turn Türkiye’s soft power, Türkiye’s growing reputation into an economic opportunity.”

Erdoğan emphasized that no one who trusted in the state and the government has been victimized for 21 years, no one who believed in the potential of the country has ever regretted it, and that the Republic of Türkiye will never let down those who trust in it, including business people, workers, farmers, producers, earthquake victims, the oppressed and the victimized.

Asking business people to further increase their investments and shoulder the construction of Türkiye’s vision, Erdoğan congratulated the delegates who were entitled to receive the Certificate of Service Honor.

- Minister of Trade Muş

Trade Minister Mehmet Muş also stated that the upward trend in exports continued in May and said, “The figures will be completely clear after two days, but the initial data shows us that the increase of more than 10 percent and the highest May exports will be reached.”

Pointing out that they have worked in harmony with the entire business world like the cogs of a machine, Muş said that the determination and excitement of business people will be the greatest source of strength and motivation for them from now on. Muş stated that they will continue to work to pave the way for the business world and to achieve great success in the economy in cooperation and consultation, as they have done for 21 years.

Muş pointed out that as the first half of this year drew to a close, expectations for the global economy had worsened, and said that despite monetary tightening policies in many countries, high inflation, turmoil in the banking sector and the Russia-Ukraine war had increased uncertainties about the global economy.

Stating that despite the instabilities and deterioration in the global economy, the data on Türkiye indicate that the foundations of the economy are sound, Muş continued his words as follows: “Türkiye’s economy has maintained its momentum in recent years. With a growth rate of approximately 5.6 percent in 2022, our country achieved the 3rd highest growth rate among G20 countries. While the number of exporting companies has exceeded 110,000, our exports have exceeded the 250 billion dollar mark for the first time. Despite the slowdown in the global economy and the earthquake disaster affecting 11 provinces, our economy continues its strong performance in 2023. From employment to the consumer index, we are contributing to the strong growth policy of our economy with the mobilization we have put forward after the earthquake. I would like to emphasize that the upward trend in our exports continued in May. The figures will be completely clear after two days, but the first data show that we will reach an increase of more than 10 percent and the highest May exports.”

Muş stated that as the Ministry, they have introduced new strategies and supports for business people and that they continue to stand by them at every stage of exports, and that they have made export supports leaner and more flexible, and that they have taken important steps for sustainable export growth with new supports such as e-export.

Pointing out that the Export Development Corporation (İGE AŞ), which was launched to facilitate exporters’ access to financing, has so far provided guarantees for 35.4 billion liras of loans, Muş said, “İGE AŞ continues on its way decisively. With the prefinancing model we have implemented with Turkish Eximbank and İGE AŞ, companies have been relieved of the time-based financing burden in order to benefit from export supports.”

Muş said that 98.5 percent of the shares of the Turkish Commercial Bank, Türkiye’s first private bank with national capital, were acquired by İGE AŞ, adding that the bank was founded in 1913 by entrepreneurs and merchants in Adapazarı. Stating that the Turkish Commercial Bank will stand up again, Muş said, “The bank will be reactivated, this national brand will be revived and will start to serve the representatives of the business world.”

Explaining that they are preparing the Far Countries Strategy to expand the success of exports in nearby markets and that they want to increase the range of exports first to the world average and then above the world average, Muş said that service exports grew by 50 percent last year. Stating that 1.1 billion liras of the 3.1 billion dollars of support provided to service exporters in the last 10 years was given in 2022, Muş said, “With the new support packages, our service exports will exceed 100 billion dollars. Therefore, with 250 billion dollars of goods exports and 100 billion dollars of services, it reaches over 350 billion dollars.”

Muş said that they are rapidly expanding the free zones in which 2,000 companies operate in 19 regions, and that they have introduced two new free zones in Samsun and Ordu.

Stating that they continued their commercial diplomacy activities to provide advantages to the business world all over the world, Muş said: “We have taken initiatives to solve the problems of our business people in any country. For example, with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement we signed with the United Arab Emirates in March, we have paved the way for our exporters in the Middle East market. As a result of the strong support and trust we receive from our nation, the efforts of our esteemed businesspeople and the high economic potential of our country, I firmly believe that the next 5 years will be a period of significant achievements for our country in terms of production, investment, employment and exports.”

Following President Erdoğan’s speech, Yahya Toplu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Polatlı Commodity Exchange, who served as a member of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye for 35 years, and Murat Sakar, Secretary General of the Kilis Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who served as Secretary General for 38 years, were presented with certificates of service honor.

Trade Minister Mehmet Muş and TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu presented a painting to President Erdoğan to commemorate the day.


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