The Fifth of the 'Back to Production' Meetings Was Held in Gaziantep

Murat Akşam, General Manager of Türkiye Finans: "We believe that one of the most important legs of production is export as well as the production. Therefore, we think that the export potential of the country is very strong.

Global Economy 13.10.2021, 10:08 13.10.2021, 17:16
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The Fifth of the 'Back to Production' Meetings Was Held in Gaziantep

The fifth of the 'Back to Production' meetings organized by Türkiye Finans Katılım Bankası in cooperation with the economy magazine Fast Company was held in a hotel in Gaziantep with the title 'Back to Production: Export Codes of the New Age'.

In his speech, Murat Akşam, General Manager of Türkiye Finans, stated that they started to act as the flag bearer of exports.

Emphasizing that production is indispensable in the participation finance system, Akşam made the following comments:

''Our main business area definitely includes production. We believe that one of the most important legs of production is export along with production. Therefore, we think that the export potential of the country is very strong. While exporting about $10-12 billion per year 30 years ago, back then, we were asking ourselves 'Can we export $100 billion?'. At the point we have reached today, we will be closing the year with an export approaching $210 billion. Therefore, as Türkiye Finans, we believe that export is a very suitable method for our country. That is also the reason why we came to Gaziantep.

We believe that Turkey can reach its export target of $500 billion. We came up with a very simple formula for ourselves. If we find 50 countries to which we export $10 billion each, or if we have 50 provinces that export $10 billion each, just like Gaziantep, we can achieve this. Because today, Gaziantep's annual export has approached $10 billion. That's why we believe this figure is achievable."

Pointing out that more products with high added value are being produced day by day, Akşam also said:

"While the ratio of exports to imports was 50-60 percent in the past, it has reached 82-83 percent today. This shows that even though we are importing raw materials and resources, we are increasing the added value day by day and exporting at higher prices. Hence, we perceive the thing that we call the current account deficit as the most important enemy for our country and foresee that the area to be successful is exports, and we are proud to be the flag bearer in this regard as an institution. We will continue to do so with persistence."

Fatma Şahin, mayor of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, mentioned the importance of the economy of the city and said that the biggest difference in the city is human capital.

Stating that there is a structure that renews itself, offering technological infrastructure, efficiency, and model factory, and establishes innovation center, Şahin made the following comments:

"On top of all of these, there is an industrial development model with an environmental and humane perspective. This is so important that green cities are now on the agenda of the world. Our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan submitted the Paris Agreement and it was ratified by the Parliament. One either renews itself and prepares for this new world or not be prepared and perish. The world talks about how the transition from economy to ecology will be, how the modeling, digitalization, increase in competitiveness will take place. We are also talking about these as a country. We are ready for this as a city. I would like to thank the whole team, it was a very successful effort."

- Gaziantep exports to 180 countries

Adil Sani Konukoğlu, Chairperson of the Board of Directors at Sanko Holding, pointed out that Gaziantep produces 155 different products and exports to 180 countries, and said that despite the pandemic, the number of employees in the province has increased.

Reminding that the biggest problem of the pandemic is the masks, Konukoğlu said, "Thanks to our industrialists in Gaziantep, Turkey did not have any problems with masks. The difficult part was not to be able to sew the masks but to supply the fabric for them, and as a city, we produced and delivered mask fabric at least 10 times more than Turkey's mask needs. We aim for innovation, we aim for new horizons. We could not have achieved this if we had worked with conventional systems."

Noting that the industrialists in Gaziantep set an export target of $3 billion for 2005 in 1996, Konukoğlu said, "Back then, the total export was not even $700 thousand. They said it was only a 'dream'. By 2005, if I remember correctly, our exports were $2.5 billion. And now, we are moving towards $10 billion, our main target is $30 billion. We have the capacity to easily reach $50 billion in the next stage.

Pointing out that Turkey's geographical location is very important in this regard, Konukoğlu made the following comments:

"Turkey is capable of all kinds of manufacturing. At this moment, if we get the timing right and have our bankers' support, there is no reason why Turkey should not invest. We should remember that logistics has become number one in the world, regardless of the sector it is practiced in. Put Turkey in the center, draw a circle of 2 thousand kilometers. Now you have a market of $500 billion. No need to search for anywhere else. We do not need to go to the other side of the world because we have a large population around us. If one sets goals and endeavors for those, s/he will definitely reach that goal one day. We are industrialists, we will give our best to make this country one of the world's leading countries."

Elif Çoban, CEO of Şölen, also stated that they are currently in the top three in the world in terms of innovation and making a difference, and said:

"When we look at the world, see what the needs are, and focus on how to chip away the market share of the biggest ones in the world instead of competing with each other, we come to realize that we have a long way to go and enter a very value-added business. I can tell that the most important factor in Şölen's success is making a difference. In this regard, we are the patent champion in Turkey. I can proudly say that. We can achieve much more to go if the industrialists do not observe each other, and instead, look at who is the best in the world and try to compete with them."

Drawing attention to the importance of investment, Çoban said, "We have become a company that transforms all of its earnings into investments. One of the most important reasons why Gaziantep industrialists have developed so much is that they see the business as their child and look at it thinking 'how can we take care of it in the best way and improve it'. We have seen the benefits of these investments during the pandemic and crisis periods. I have a feeling that the future is very bright, we aim to be among the top 10 in the world by creating big brands that can compete with global companies. In this context, I imagine that we can achieve this through the production in our country and that Gaziantep's feature of being a production base in this sense can continue in a much stronger way.

Fikret Kileci, President of the Southeast Anatolian Exporters Associations, said that Gaziantep is located in a very rough geographical location and has struggled throughout history.

At the end of the program, Murat Akşam, General Manager of Türkiye Finans, gave plaques to the speakers. (AA)

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