ESİDEF: Targets doubled despite intimidation


Date posted: February 25, 2014

ANKARA

Federation of the Aegean and Mediterranean Industrialists and Businesspeople (ESİDEF) President Mustafa Çelik said anti-democratic rhetoric and intimidating speeches against the business world in Turkey have motivated them to double their targets.

Speaking in a conference held in Afyon on Monday, Çelik criticized the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government’s pressuring of businesspeople and said that money does not come to countries that lack an environment of trust. ESİDEF, a member of one of Turkey’s leading business associations, the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), comprises 12,500 businessmen and industrialists, and is one of the biggest regional civil society organizations.

“The target of ESİDEF and TUSKON for this year is to start business partnerships in every country,” said Çelik. He also put an emphasis on the increasing importance of civil society groups in a constantly developing and changing world and emphasized that the aforementioned groups should carry out their activities with that in mind. TUSKON President Rızanur Meral, Zaman daily writer Turhan Bozkurt and over 250 businessmen and industrialists attended the meeting.

Speaking at the meeting, Meral pointed out that one of TUSKON’s aims is to integrate its members into world markets; to this end, he said, Turkish businessmen have increased their speed in opening up to world markets.

“We are moving forward toward our aims with trade bridges we have established, trade forums held in Turkey with the participation of the head of other states and business trips abroad. We believe that every one of our members in the world can contribute to our country and produce surplus value,” added Meral.

In late January, TUSKON criticized what it called a “systematic campaign of defamation against the business conglomerate,” stressing that its business activities, which contribute to the Turkish economy, should be welcomed. The statement came just days after a voice recording surfaced on social media in which Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and TUSKON Secretary-General Mustafa Günay discussed business opportunities in Uganda. Günay also mentioned gifts of pineapples sent from Uganda. For days, government officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, publicly made fun of the pineapple reference. Erdoğan even said, “We will not allow a pineapple republic in Turkey,” in reference to the illegally wiretapped phone conversation between Günay and Gülen.

Source: Todays Zaman , February 25, 2014


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