On December 17th, The German Marshall Fund of the United States hosted an evening conversation with M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, President of The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). Mr. Hisarcıklıoğlu spoke on “Turkey’s Rise: a Private Sector View.” The discussion was attended by 45 people, including government officials, members of academia and representatives from organizations across an array of sectors.
Mr. Hisarcıklıoğlu was warmly received and openly discussed his views on the rising Turkish role in the international economy. Over the past ten years, Turkey has undergone both economic and political transformations that have propelled the country from an agricultural newcomer to an industrial giant. The recapitalization of the banking system after the 2001 financial crisis, as well as moves towards further integration and cooperation with the European Union gave rise to a stronger and more prominent Turkish middle class. These gains politically empowered the population to take to the ballot box and voice their concerns about justice, education, tax reform, and the establishment of a new constitution. With these developments and Turkey’s geostrategic position in the region, it’s clear that future stability and growth are linked with the establishment of peace throughout the Middle East.
The discussion concluded with a question and answer session that covered U.S.-Turkish relations, regional perspectives, next steps for the Turkish economy, and the creation of a new constitution, which Mr. Hisarcıklıoğlu feels is the path that Turkey must take to advance itself on the world stage and assure Turkish economic growth for years to come.