Mazars’ Turkish Partner Denge’s CEO İzel Levi Coşkun, who attended the world meeting of the SME section (OMB-Owner’s Managed Business) in Paris on September 22 and 23, was bombarded with questions. A special session was allocated to Mr. Coşkun during the meeting, in which he answered questions about why things were going well in Turkey despite the bad state of affairs in Europe. İzel Levi Coşkun said “At the meeting each participant was given a 2-3 minute long Q&A session and time to make a brief presentation video. In addition to this, they conducted a special 30-minute interview about Turkey and filmed it because currently all partners are closely monitoring and appreciating the developments in Turkey’s economy. They believe that right now Turkey is one of the best countries to make investments in.”
Coşkun frames the questions he was posed and his answers to them for DÜNYA:
What is your interpretation of the economic developments in Turkey? Can you make a comparison between Turkey and the atmosphere of stagnation and crisis in Europe?
Significant growth has taken place in Turkey from 2011 onwards. After China, Turkey is the country that is doing the best in terms of growth. This, of course, leads to a more positive approach towards our country from investors. I believe that, especially in recent times, Turkey has been making efforts to brand and develop its trade relations with all countries of the world. On the other hand, I believe that the stable state of affairs in Turkey over the last few years and the presence of a large market with a young, active population also attract foreign investors. I think that the Turkish Commercial Code, which will come into force in 2012, will ensure more favourable conditions not only for foreign investors but also for all Turkish companies, thus providing our companies with more equal terms for international competition. Europe needs Turkey. Such need is not restricted to trade and labour issues only. Turkey, in return, needs Europe. By this I do not mean EU accession but we are enjoying the benefits of the reforms made in all fields on the journey towards membership.
How much longer do you think Turkey’s economic development will continue?
Our growth, or development, shall continue as long as we are able to ensure that the policies we develop –not only for the economy but also in all other areas- are in line with the principles of sustainability. What I mean by this is that development will be sustainable as long as the policies and long-term goals set are handled within the framework of corporate governance, concern for the environment and social rights. As an example, no matter how huge our economic success is, if we are having human rights problems in our country this will cast a shadow over that economic success. Another example that needs to be discussed from the perspective of sustainability is the opening of the gates for nuclear power stations in earthquake-prone areas at a time when all countries have become somewhat suspicious of nuclear stations following the earthquake in Japan.
Which industries do you think are most popular in Turkey currently?
I think nowadays the real estate industry is still very lively. The energy industry also attracts serious investments. We hear that the Ministry of Industry is making efforts to promote production with higher added value. If the general tendencies and policies are developed in line with this, I believe that in the long term we will acquire a reputable position worldwide in the area of technology. In addition to these, my observation is that the number of funds and risk capital companies has been increasing following the increased acquisitions and mergers in the last quarter of 2010 and in 2011.
What is your opinion about the entrepreneurship potential of Turkey?
I believe Turkey’s entrepreneurship potential is huge. However it is one that lacks organisation. Entrepreneurs do not know what to do. They have very little knowledge about how to set up and manage a business or where to obtain funds from. In recent years academia and the business world have come closer together, exemplified by the rapid increase in such things as the entrepreneurship courses offered as a joint project of TÜGİAD and Marmara University, on which I also am a lecturer, as well as through the contribution of Endeavour. It is very important that the state provides considerable opportunities for entrepreneurs. All these things benefit entrepreneurs greatly. I believe that our entrepreneurs will make their names known globally in the coming years.
Wallaert: Turkey; watched in admiration
Loic Wallaert, a senior Mazars executive responsible for Turkey and the Middle East, made a brief evaluation of Turkey’s outlook. Wallaert remarks: “I would say that the EU countries that are being affected by the financial crisis are watching Turkey in admiration. We envy the positive developments that are taking place in Turkey. It is a country with a large domestic market. In addition to providing easy access to some neighbouring countries, Turkey is seen as a young and rapidly growing market. It has high-quality employees. The high quality of management and personnel, combined with the spirit of entrepreneurship Turkey has inherited as a result of a long history of entrepreneurship renders the country unique in this part of the world and allows it to play a strong regional role. Investors enjoy not only high-quality and well-trained teams but also a strong infrastructure. Turkey has great potential to strengthen its structure in a period in which the global system is stumbling. The New Commercial Code introduces effective changes. This will be very beneficial not only for domestic businesses but also for foreign investors.”