Besides his teaching duties at the PakTurk Schools, educationist Doğan Yücel was also involved in the activities of the businessmen’s association founded to develop the trade between Pakistan and Turkey. Yücel explained the details of the Turkey tour they organized with the president and members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2011 through this involvement.
In his address to the KCCI delegation, Republic of Turkey Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade Asia-Pacific Economic Affairs Department Head Süleyman Sözeri stated that Pakistan and Turkey have great relations with a deep-rooted history. Sözeri said they understood the sensitivity of the protection measures proposed to be imposed on miscellaneous countries, but that the goods arriving from the export processing regime would be exempted. He emphasized that the protective measures would not bind Pakistan and Turkey or pressure bilateral relations, and this issue would be handled with mutual understanding as Turkey understood Pakistan’s concerns. He added that Pakistan’s exports, with textile making the six percent and ready-made clothing the two percent of the total trade, reached 370 million dollars.
Reminding that protection measures were proposed on behalf of some members who lost trade opportunities and upon the request of several chambers, Sözeri stated that the proposed customs duty for Pakistan would be lesser than other countries and some products would be excluded. He emphasized that the Pakistani Trade Minister wrote a letter to his Turkish colleague and the Pakistani ambassador informed the Trade Minister about the issue.
Meetings got longer and we missed our flight
Our flight was at five o’clock. We drove fast in our van. When they saw we were a foreign delegation, the traffic police facilitated our quick passage. When we arrived at the airport, there was little time left for the flight to take off. No way we could get on the plane. Subsequent flights were at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. We had to attend a dinner meeting with the BİŞAD-member businessmen in Istanbul at 8:00 pm. I went to the airport operations manager of the Turkish Airlines and explained the situation. He said the next flights too were packed and added he would be glad to assist if there were empty seats. I ran from pillar to post in the airport terminal. Finally, the entire group could be placed on board. However, the flight was bound for the Sabiha Gökçen Airport at the Asian side. We agreed and boarded the plane. It was 8 pm when we landed. We tried to reach Başakşehir at the European side of Istanbul from Kurtköy quickly. We entered the hall at 9:30 pm.
Back then, Mr. Mehmet had come to Istanbul with a group of friends for treatment. I had requested him to tell the guests about Pakistan and give information about the trade and commerce there until we arrived. Thankfully, he had accepted. In this way, we could save time and those waiting for us did not waste their time. Mutual meetings were held. The visiting President of the KCCI delivered a speech and the hosts presented a plaque to him.
Inviting Turkish businessmen to the fair in Karachi
In his speech to the BİŞAD members, President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Mohammed Saeed Shafiq stated they sought new bilateral trade opportunities for both sides to utilize and explore their business potentials. He invited the members of the BİŞAD to the ‘My-Karachi Oasis of Harmony Fair’ organized by the KCCI. Shafiq reiterated his belief in the Turkish business world to play the strengthening role in Pakistan’s economy while developing the trade of the respective countries. On behalf of the President of BİŞAD, Secretary General Akif Alacaoğulları conveyed his sincere thanks and congratulations to the guests for accepting one-to-one meetings with the members of the Association.
In the morning on the third day, bilateral business meetings were held at the headquarters of the Confederation of Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in Mecidiyeköy. Businessmen also chatted cordially with one another. I was their interpreter during the meetings. Before leaving, a TUSKON official phoned the Eminönü pier and reserved a private boat for us to have a Bosporus cruise. Mr. Mehmet joined us with his businessmen delegation from Islamabad and we had dinner with businessmen from Istanbul.
Agreement signed between KCCI and TUSKON
KCCI President Shafiq and TUSKON Vice President Ahmet Ciger signed a memorandum of understanding in Istanbul for developing trade between Pakistan and Turkey. At this signing ceremony, Pakistan’s Consul General in Istanbul Dr. Yousaf Junaid was also present. After the MoU was signed, bilateral business meetings were held. President Muhammed Saeed Shafiq made a presentation about KCCI, Pakistan’s largest chamber with over 17 thousand members, during his meeting with Ahmet Ciger. He explained the problems related to exports between Pakistan and Turkey, and stated that Turkey, as a sister country, should grant an exemption to Pakistan in bilateral trade. Pakistan’s Consul General in Istanbul Dr. Yousaf Junaid also stated that it will be Pakistan, not China, to ultimately suffer in exports.
TUSKON Vice President Ahmet Ciger explained that the Confederation operated as the top organization of several businessmen’s associations across the country contributing to Turkey’s economic and social development. He said the TUSKON comprised 151 businessmen’s associations from 80 provinces in Turkey and represented 25,000 entrepreneurs, with an objective to become a part of the global world with their business and trade initiatives. Mr. Ciger stated that TUSKON opened offices in Brussels, Washington DC, Moscow and Beijing and served as a pioneering organization in sharing the experiences of businessmen in international markets and taking new business opportunities.
To be continued…