17 February 2020 Monday

An advanced civil society approach brings with it an advanced economy and a culture of democracy


Orhan Turan has become the new Chairman of the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation (TURKONFED), which approaches the problems of business and society with a sound, objective and constructive perspective. Turan states that they will move forward with the "5K" vision in the new period and that they will work for a TURKONFED focusing on the issues of Institutionalization, Global Competitiveness, Inclusiveness, SMEs and Women. Orhan Turan, the Chairman of the Board, disclosed the details and the new agenda of TURKONFED for the new period.

We are a business organization with the most broad-based SME structuring in Turkey.

I am delighted to be the president of TURKONFED and to contriute to the business world and especially to our SMEs with my experience I gained from my activities that I have pursued in addition to my 34 years of career in non-governmental organizations. TURKONFED was officially founded in 2004. Today, together with our members, we account for a total of 83 percent of the foreign trade, excluding energy, and approximately 55 percent of the non-agricultural and non-governmental registered employment; we also contribute to the general employment with more than 7 million employees. We are also a member of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (UEAPME), which is the umbrella organization for the European SMEs and represents 12 million companies with 55 million employees. With this membership, we assume quite an active role in transferring the problems of Turkish SMEs under the umbrella of the EU and in developing policies through decision-making processes. Additionally, we function as an important bridge within between European Union and TURKONFED International which has expanded to 20 countries. In sum, as TURKONFED, worried by the problems of our members, SMEs, and the country's economy, and coming together on an independent and voluntary basis to create solutions,  we are the business organization with the most broad-based SME structure in Turkey.

A strong society, a strong economy and a strong democracy are dependent on women's active participation in all areas of life.

We have 3 years to accomplish our goals and realize the intensification efforts in our main strategy. We have a board of directors consisting of 40   business people from all regions of Turkey. Our common goal with our members of every color, every voice and every world-view is to create added-value for our country. We have combined this value in 5 main foci in our 13th Ordinary General Assembly held on May 12th. We have announced that we will go into more depth on the issues of Institutionalization, Global Competitiveness, Inclusiveness, SMEs and Women in the new period, and explained our vision that we call as "5K". We believe that institutionalization is necessary for our member businesses, associations and federations. In fact, we attach the same importance to the institutionalization of the state and the institutionalization of our democratic and economic structures. The institutionalization culture will strengthen the relationship between the economy and democracy. Today, global competition is experienced not only between countries but also between sectors, regions, cities and firms. With digital transformation, there is a significant chance of concurrency in competitiveness. Enhancing the global competitiveness power of our SMEs and large businesses is one of the main foci of our vision. Of course, our goal is to do it with the power we get from TURKONFED's multi-vocal, multi-colored structure and with a participatory and inclusive understanding.

TURKONFED's main power comes from SMEs. Our SMEs, which are the main power units of our economy and which constitute approximately 97% of our businesses, also represent the spirit of TURKONFED. We will continue to bolster our businesses and to be their voice in order to be able to come up with solutions on behalf of our SMEs in various issues such as institutionalization, human resources, access to finance, marketing, exports, and digitalization in the new world and new competition conditions; and we will develop policies in this direction. The common set of all these targets will be "women", and we will accelerate our efforts to increase women's representation through certain steps to be taken by our new management and the general assembly. Moving from our view that a strong society, a strong economy and a strong democracy  depend on women's active participation in all areas of life, we will be all out to continue our efforts to empower women. In our 13th Ordinary General Assembly, we have increased the representation of women business leaders and role models in their respective fields in Turkey by 100%. Now our board of directors consists of 9 businesswomen, each of whom is strong in their field. In the new period, we will increase and diversify our efforts that are shaped based on the equality of gender and opportunity, and our policy proposals to add value to women in the economy and social life with the invaluable contributions of our new board members. Moreover, we have initiated the co-chairmanship system in TURKONFED for the new period. We have ensured that each of the 10 working commissions is co-chaired by a male and a female co-chairman. I think that this step will also greatly contribute to TURKONFED. In the new period, we will also attach importance to a similar type of equality among the commission members. In the next period, we will prioritize quotas for female board members  in the board of directors of our confederations, federations and associations.

The TURKONFED and UNDP  cooperation project

The Women in Business World Commission (IDK), which cares about women's participation in decision-making mechanisms, has carried out very significant works in the period of 12 years since its establishment. The IDK, which works with the philosophy of "If women become stronger, so will the society" has implemented many projects in order to bring more women into business life since 2007. In this context, it has organized a summit entitled "Role of Women in Sustainable Development Goals" in cooperation with the United Nations Women's Unit (UN Women) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In Istanbul, we hosted a number of top executives from different countries across the world. With the final declaration, we have offered solutions in increasing women's participation in the business world, from the female employee quotas to child care services and nursery help, from ensuring social equality to increasing the number of family-friendly businesses. In the following period, we will have a deepening cooperation with the UNDP. We are working on a very important project in this regard.