EU to overcome crisis by lifting visa on Turkey : TOBB chairman

TOBB Chairman Hisarciklioglu called on the European Union to lift visas to ease bilateral trade.

EU to overcome crisis by lifting visa on Turkey : TOBB chairman

World Bulletin/News Desk

Chairman of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Rifat Hisarciklioglu said, "Do not the EU countries, facing such severe crisis, want to sell their products to us-", referring to the European Union's visa obligation.

Speaking at the "Conference of Latest Developments in the Turkey-EU Relations" with the attendance of President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Hisarciklioglu said that the Turkish business community believed in EU membership as it would contribute in Turkey's economic and social transformation process.

Pointing at the ongoing economic transformation beginning in 1980s in Turkey, Hisarciklioglu mentioned industry, tourism, transportation, construction and foreign trade as the sectors that Turkey has a world-wide success record in.

Concern over EU's economic crisis

"Last year we had an export volume of USD 152 billion, EU countries being the major partner," said Hisarciklioglu, adding that Turkey ranked the second in construction business and transportation in the world.

Expressing his ongoing concern on the economic crisis, Hisarciklioglu said, "While in the last 3 years around 5 million people were employed in Turkey, same amount of people were unemployed in the EU in the same period. Employment and economic growth should continue to be the primary agenda of the EU. Decisions taken should be implemented."

Turkey's EU membership

Hisarciklioglu said Turkey's membership would benefit the EU as much as Turkey.

Adding that Turkey would invest more than USD 100 billion in energy sector within the next 10 years, Hisarciklioglu underlined that the energy resources and the pipelines needed by the EU fall within Turkey's surrounding.

Cyprus Question

Emphasizing on the urgent need of ending the embargo on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), "EU has a new decision mechanism which does not require consensus any more. This mechanism should be put in force. Such step will benefit both Northern and Southern parts of the island," said Hisarciklioglu.

Visa exemption

Hisarciklioglu criticized the EU's current visa policy on the accounts that it was outmoded. "It has negative impact on our trade and EU's economy. We have USD 150 billion of private sector investment in Turkey. We would like to purchase our machines and equipments from the EU, however our businessmen are troubled with visa, prefer other countries with easier visa procedures," said Hisarciklioglu, and added, "I ask myself, 'Do not the EU countries facing such severe crisis want to sell their products to us."

FTA between US and EU

Hisarciklioglu mentioned, Turkey demanded to be taken into consideration at the stage of negotiation and signature of the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) the EU have been making with the third countries. "We also need EU's support to sign similar agreements. This support is an extension of the Customs Union between Turkey and EU," said Hisarciklioglu, and added, "The EU punished Turkey with its current FTA agreements."

EU should break the "isolation"

Hisarciklioglu expressed concern over the EU's "extensive isolation, and falling sort of enlargement and neighborhood policies", and said, "In the last 3 years, no new chapter could be opened, not due to technical, but due to political reasons."

Reminding the Nobel Peace Prize that the EU won in 2012, Hisarciklioglu said, "We expect the EU to act worthily." 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mayıs 2013, 09:37