Arzuhan Yalçındağ, Ümit Boyner and Ayça Dinçkök… All three serve on the TÜSİAD board and have assumed important responsibilities for many issues, ranging from Turkey’s bid for EU membership to women entrepreneurs, education and the development of social policies. At the same as they are running the businesses of their own groups, they are also pursuing social affairs projects and working for the future of Turkey. Capital brought together the “Three Most Powerful Women in TÜSİAD” and shared their difficult agenda.
Arzuhan Doğan Yalçindağ, Doğan Tv Executive Board Chair: “We Should Plan Turkey’s Future Today.”
Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ has been a member of the TÜSİAD board of directors since 2003. She still serves as chair of the TÜSİAD Social Affairs Committee. Yalçındağ, who is one of the most influential directors in TÜSİAD and has been responsible for many important initiatives in the commission which she chairs, says that the most important item on her own agenda is productivity.
In addition to the voluntary work she does for TÜSİAD, Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ is also a professional executive. Yalçındağ is a member of the Doğan Holding Board of Directors and chair of the Doğan TV Executive Board. She evaluated the agenda of the Turkish business community, the direction in which the economy is heading and her plans and targets for her own business as follows:
Support For Women Entrepreneurs
A working group committee has been formed under the auspices of the TÜSİAD Social Affairs Committee and called “Woman entrepreneurs on the road to the EU”. The committee’s main function is to try to increase participation in politics and economic life, publish reports and bring the issue to the attention of the public. In addition, it monitors the implementation of what needs to be done during the EU accession process. As you know, the rate of woman MPs in parliament is only 4.2 percent. We should rapidly increase the number of women MPs and women’s representation in politics. When we look at examples elsewhere in the world we see that positive discrimination was applied for a certain period. As TÜSİAD we also support a quota system. Our efforts in this regard benefit from input from KADER.
The Economy Is Still Indexed To Politics
We have all experienced the positive economic developments that began after the 2001 crisis. Inflation has fallen to single figures, while the economy has grown for four years in succession. Foreign capital inflow has increased as a result. I believe that the EU perspective and remaining faithful to the IMF program have played a very important role in this success. These two important factors have given us discipline and acted as a guide. Of course, we have also been fortunate that the government has not acted in a populist manner. But the Turkish economy is still indexed to politics. In fact, I am concerned that the approach of an election will produce a change in the attitude of the government and that it will adopt a more populist approach. I hope that my concerns are unfounded.
Ayça Dinçkök/Board Member Of Akkök Sanayi Yatirim Ve Geliştirme Aş:
“We Are Explaining Turkey’s Business Culture To Europe”
Ayça Dinçkök became a member of the TÜSİAD board of director about two years ago. During this period she has led many initiatives. Dinçkök is currently chair of the TÜSİAD Information Society and New Technologies Committee and manages important projects, particularly those which aim to develop entrepreneurship in Turkey. At the same time Ayca Dinckok is a member of the board of Akkök Sanayi Yatırım ve Geliştirme A. Ş., one of the oldest industrial companies in Turkey.
Ayça Dinçkök explains the priority issues on her agenda, her suggestions for solutions for the current problems of the Turkish business world and her own business plans as follows:
More Female Entrepreneurs
I don’t want to discriminate between male and female entrepreneurs. I work on the Information Society and New Technologies Committee at TÜSİAD. We have established an Entrepreneurship Working Group under this commission. We are currently preparing for what will be the third Entrepreneurship Congress and awards in Turkey. We prepare these congresses together with universities. We organize these congresses particularly to university students in order to show projects that come to us. When we look at the relative levels of participation of men and women in these projects we see that female participation is lower. But in Turkey as a whole entrepreneurship is behind that in Europe or America. In addition to financing problems, other obstacles include the problems in establishing companies and educational shortcomings.
Tüsiad’s Major Mission
The head of the list of issues to which we give the greatest importance at TÜSİAD is headed by the economy and harmonization with the EU. We have very strong representatives abroad. TÜSİAD has offices in Berlin, Paris and Washington. We continually receive reports from these offices. As a result, we follow the EU closely. We closely follow their attitudes towards Turkey. We work at TÜSİAD voluntarily and here we reflect the culture of the business world. This is very important for the outside world. Because it is the business community which keeps a country on its feet.
Ümit Boyner/Board Member Of Boyner Holding:
“There Is No Glass Ceiling Syndrome In Turkey”
Ümit Boyner is a member of the board of Boyner Holding, one of the leading companies in Turkey. She is one of three women on the board of TÜSİAD. At Boyner Holding her responsibilities include overseeing the group’s growth plans and securing the financing for this growth, while at TÜSİAD she is responsible for promoting Turkey abroad. Boyner serves as head of the TÜSİAD Country Promotion Committee and she is very active in terms of representing the Turkish business community in Europe, particularly during the EU accession process. Ümit Boyner, who oversees the future growth plans of the Boyner Group, made the following observations about female entrepreneurship in Turkey, the agenda of the Turkish business community and the EU accession process.
The Goal Is Equal Opportunity
After seeing how low the participation of women was in the workforce in terms of entrepreneurship, we had a brainstorming session to see how participation could be increased, how many more women entrepreneurs could produced and how they could be supported and established KAGİDER.
Today KAGİDER runs many different projects which seek to develop female entrepreneurship. Some of these projects are supported by the European Union. These projects provide female entrepreneurs with different forms of support, such as training, marketing and consulting; while training is also given on entrepreneurship.
There Is A Risk Of A Deviation From The Program
In fact, we see that in several critical professions the rate of female representation is not very bad. I don’t think that there is much of a glass ceiling syndrome in Turkey.
Things are going well in the economy. The current account deficit is at a level where it can be financed and we won’t have any problems in this regard. But financing it on good terms is dependent on us being able to sustain political stability in Turkey and us being able to keep the risk of financing costs low.
An election is looming. In the future the government will need not to stick to the tight monetary policy contained in the IMF program. I sense that the government is shifting towards adopting a slightly populist approach. These are serious dangers.
What Are Their Business Plans?
“We Shall Grow In Energy And The Media”
As a group we grew rapidly in 2005. We used prevailing circumstances in the right way and the measures we adopted were good. As you know, towards the end of the year our group sold Dışbank to Fortis. Then, again as a strategic decision, we bought out İş Bankası’s share and raised our stake in Petrol Ofisi to 97 percent. Petrol Ofisi is the leader in the energy retail sector in Turkey. We are also looking to expand in the energy sector. Then we bought the Hilton Hotel. In fact this was the result of my father’s foresight and we made the investment directly as a family. In 2005 we also bought Star TV. The fact that the group also owns other television channels means that this created synergy. As a group we are thinking of simplifying our businesses. We are planning major growth in energy and the media. We are very seriously interested in investments abroad, particularly in the media.
“Akkök Will Grow In Three Areas” The leading sectors in which the Akkök Group is involved in are chemicals, energy and textiles. We are planning to grow in these three areas. We are working to diversify and develop products. We are expanding our capacity in chemicals. In chemicals AKKÖK is the largest producer of acrylic fiber in the world. In the energy sector we are the largest private sector energy producer in Turkey. Now we have bought two dams and we have begun investments in them.
We are planning to grow in the energy sector with Akenerji. In textiles we have Aksu and Ak-Al. They are trying to optimize their businesses by downsizing some of their departments and expanding others. In textiles we face competition from China and Italy. In addition, we have some real estate projects. We are developing this area.
What Is On Boyner’s Agenda? At Boyner we are active in two main business areas: one is textile production and distribution and the other is retailing. In textiles, we are concentrating on branding in order to protect our long term competitive power. There has been an increase in competition over the last 3-4 years. We need to protect our competitive advantages by updating our service network and product network still further and maintaining them at world standards.
In addition, we are continuing to grow. In fact retailing, particularly the retailing of clothes, is a very difficult area. Prices are falling all over the world. But the cost of inputs is increasing. For this reason we need to able to ensure that we work productively over a very long period. We need to maintain high standards in both our product range and our services. It is essential to change in a continuously dynamic manner.