Date posted: January 27, 2014
Despite continuing government pressure and a smear campaign against Turkey’s largest Islamic group, the Hizmet movement, a leading business confederation affiliated with Hizmet is working even harder than before to benefit the country’s ailing economy.
The Hizmet movement, a volunteer-based grassroots movement working around the world, particularly in the field of education, which aims to spread interfaith dialogue and is inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, has recently come under attack from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This was followed by a defamation campaign in the pro-government media targeting Hizmet.
The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) has had its share of these provocative media reports. Regarding the recent media reports criticizing TUSKON’s lobbying efforts for Turkish firms abroad, TUSKON President Rıza Nur Meral told Sunday’s Zaman that allegations against TUSKON “do not make sense” and that the confederation has always supported Turkish businessmen who want to branch out into global markets. “We will continue our support [for Turkish entrepreneurs],” Meral added.
The size of investment and trade agreements created thanks to the Turkey-World Trade Bridge, a semi-annual trade and investment summit organized by TUSKON since 2006, has reached $30 billion. These summits establish trade bridges between small and medium-sized Turkish enterprises and world markets thousands of kilometers away from Turkey.
The latest Turkey-World Trade Bridge summit, an eight-year-old event on its way to becoming an internationally recognized summit, opened its doors to visitors from around the world on Nov. 26 of last year and hosted 1,343 foreign and 800 local firms with an estimated 25,000 business-to-business transactions. The TUSKON summit is sponsored by the Economy Ministry and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM).
Meral stressed that at the 19th summit held in November, companies inked contracts worth $500 million. “The difference of the last summit is that Turkey has started to promote not only goods but brands this time. When we started to organize these summits, Turkey used to market our products only, but now we promote our brands and make franchise agreements with foreign partners,” said Meral.
TUSKON has organized 19 World Trade Bridges between 2006 and 2013, and around 70,000 businessmen from Turkey and all around the world have had a chance to come together to establish trade bridges at these events.
A nongovernmental and non-profit umbrella organization for seven business federations, 211 business associations and more than 55,000 entrepreneurs from all over the country, TUSKON is the most effective business group representing Turkey abroad.
It was set up in 2005 and has concentrated on the economic and social development of Turkey. It has four foreign representation offices, in Brussels, Washington, Moscow and Beijing, and partner organizations in a further 140 different countries. It now boasts the strongest domestic and international business network in Turkey.
The confederation aspires to offer solutions for Turkey’s political, social and economic issues as well. “In serving our goals, TUSKON’s activities have turned out to be huge steps towards making our members global players in today’s rapidly changing economic structure. The unique aspect of the Trade Bridge concept is its structure to bring together domestic and international businesses and help them to develop one-to-one relationships,” the official website of the organization notes.
Source: Todays Zaman , January 26, 2014