The doyens of the Turkish business world penned their visions for the second century of the Republic of Türkiye for EKONOMİ daily.
Not just economic growth but social development should be on our agenda
Rahmi Koc, Koc Holding Honorary President
I believe the ideological fundamentals of our republic should be underlined more often in this exceptional hundredth anniversary. The real cause of the despair the country fell into a century ago was ignorance, which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk called “the greatest enemy to fight”. Our Republic was founded on reforms aiming to reach the level of contemporary civilization. It is a universal truth that countries with strong economies will have more influence and weight than others. That is why Turkey’s economic stability will give strength to our country’s domestic and foreign policies. Naturally, we should attach importance not only to economic growth but also to quality education, science, culture, and art, in other words, social development.
For us, the Republic is about giving women their rightful place in society
Guler Sabanci, Sabanci Holding Chairman
For us, the Republic is not a form of government but a way of life; an endless journey of contemporary civilization; being open to innovation, and not being satisfied with where you stand; It is competing with yourself, thinking without limits, equality; it is giving women their place in society, giving women the right to vote and be elected at a time when the most developed nations were bragging about their male hegemony. It is, as Ataturk famously said, “to know that a nation cannot rise by the progress of men alone and to see women as worthy of rising to the skies on shoulders. Republic is to believe in young people, to trust them, and to make them feel it. It is to believe in young people, to trust them, and to make them feel it. It is to encourage them, to give them opportunities, to share their dreams, to protect the arts, to encourage free thought, and to adopt enlightenment and modernization as a life view.
Education should be the top priority on our agenda
Tuncay Ozilhan, Anadolu Group Chairman
Witnessing Ataturk’s presidency, the founders of Anadolu Group İzzet Ozilhan and Kamil Yazici, have always set the principles of the Republic as their road map. The world of the future will be the world of those who accept investment in new technologies and innovation as a must, and who produce the most creative ideas and business models. We have to give importance to production in every field and invest in industry, agriculture, and every field that will support the sustainability of our national economy. Education should be the most important issue on our agenda. When we say “change, transformation, development, and being productive”, education stands out among the factors determining our future. Improving education systems and providing both current and future generations with the competencies that will enable them to adapt to all kinds of innovation and development is becoming increasingly important.
An education reform will secure balanced and rapid growth
Bulent Eczacibasi, Eczacibasi Holding Chairman
The economic model based on running large current account deficits and growing by borrowing from abroad has long outlived its useful life. I believe that our country can succeed in transitioning to a balanced, competitive, and sustainable growth model based on exports of goods and services. With a breakthrough based on entrepreneurial potential and a well-educated workforce, our country can achieve a privileged position and make this position sustainable. I believe that these goals are achievable with a human resource equipped with competitive skills. An education reform that will be the locomotive of the new model will unleash the real power of our industry and private sector, and will undoubtedly secure the sustainable, balanced, and rapid growth that our country needs. There is not a single country that has implemented an education reform and failed.
Qualified employment is our most basic agenda
Ahmet Eren, Eren Holding Chairman
I think that if the business world in Turkey has the opportunity in Turkey, they should make their investments in our country for the Turkish unemployed. Investments made abroad do not benefit the unemployed in Turkey. We have established a Technology and Science High School in Bitlis, and lessons will be taught in Turkish, Chinese, and English. Our students will have the chance to go to China and England during summer vacations. We have also included the establishment of another private school in our program. It will be a vocational technical high school that will provide education and training in the fields of electricity and welding. We will keep its diameter large, and we will ensure that it will turn into a college in the future. Can you imagine, there is a welding university in China? We will receive support from China in this regard. Intermediate staff is not only our problem but also the problem of developed countries. While our country is in need in this regard, there is the fact that our young people are migrating, and it is the duty of all of us to find a solution to this issue. Turkey should train more welders, molders, and intermediate workers in different branches. Turkey should invest more in these fields. Qualified employment should be one of the most important agenda items in our country.