Turkey’ leading business lobby rebels against Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday blasted Turkish business group TÜSIAD’s chair Orhan Turan over his remarks criticizing government’s objection to Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO bids, Haber Sol internet news site reported.  TUSIAD and other leading business lobbies, such as the Association of Turkish Trade and Industry Chambers have ben very docile to Erdogan since his reign started. TUSIAD has attempted to criticize anti-business policies in the past, but always quieted down after receiving a terse warning from Erdogan. Nevertheless, the latest statement by chair Orhan Turan is the harshest and mostcomprehensive attack waged against Erdogan’s policies.


At a meeting of the Turkish Business and Industrialists Association (TÜSİAD), which represents the country’s largest companies, earlier on Wednesday, Orhan Turan, TÜSİAD’s chair, voiced warnings about the state of the economy, saying Turkey was growing by getting poorer.


Turan also voiced criticism against the government’s foreign policy,  saying the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland can be resolved through negotiations and mutual understanding in accordance with the spirit of the alliance.


“Of course, it is Turkey’s right to demand that friendly and allied countries pay more attention to the sensitivities of a country that has suffered much from terrorism,” Turan said.


“However, the method we adopt while protecting our interests where we are right should be formulated in a way that will facilitate us to reach the goal,” Turan criticized the government.


Turkish President Erdoğan reacted to the TÜSİAD leader.


“We will not change our stance on Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO bids until they take concrete steps. Hey, you, new head of TÜSİAD! You cannot teach us a lesson in foreign policy, Erdoğan lashed out against the TÜSIAD leader.


“You’re an apprentice, you couldn’t even become an undermaster. Unless they (TÜSİAD) change their mind, they won’t be allowed to maintain contact with the government,” Erdoğan said.


Erdogan’s Lethal Economic Legacy


“Why do we take a stand against Sweden and Finland? Are we going to open our doors to them while terrorist organizations are freely walking down their streets? TÜSIAD can stand with them, we will revenge on the blood of our martyrs. Terrorist organizations are marching on the streets in Germany. If TÜSİAD continues like this, our doors will remain closed to the group.”


Erdoğan also blamed TÜSİAD for pursuing policies in foreign affairs advised by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).



The TUSIAD rebellion ought to be viewed as a test case of Erdogan’s sway over the business community. After Erdogan’s terse reply, TUSIAD is expected to end the debate by adopting complete silence for a few months. If it responds either through Chair Turan, or another prominent business person, who is a member, it is fair to conclude that even the business community has grasped  Erdogan is on his way out pursuant the coming elections.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.