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chairmans view

Muharrem Kayhan

Multi-tiered
Diplomacy
very important duties as global actors of international
relations..
At Turkish Industrialists and Businessmens Association, we have taken upon us the mission of becoming
pioneers of this new tendency that is developing throughout the world. TSADs aim is to accelerate economic and social development within a democratic
order. This makes it necessary to include foreign relations into its field of activity. Our awareness of the vital importance of economic diplomacy for the future of
Turkey, makes us believe that businessmen should be a
countrys delegates in the world. Periodically, our foreign policy turns inward; as businessmen our task is to
combat this tendency and lead the country to its place
in the forefront of the globalization race.
With this in mind, TSAD began to branch out and
increased its involvement in Turkeys international
relations. In order to contribute to the efforts to join the
European Union, TfiADs Brussels office was
inaugurated in May 1996. As a result of this our participation and contacts within UNICE were strengthened
and our representative power in the Council of Europe,
the Commission and the European Parliament was
firmly established. By using these ties we were able to
continue our efforts to keep the lines of communication
open and the economic relations intact in the aftermath
of the unfortunate summit in Luxembourg at the end of
1997. Our relations with UNICE had started earlier on
in 1987. We felt it extremely important to cultivate our
membership in that influential body in order to pursue
the agenda of Turkish business vis a vis the European
Union. As, in the aftermath of Luxembourg, the political
dialogue was all but severed between Turkey and the

In the future world order even political problems will


have moved into the orbit of economics. Ideological
polarization will be replaced by a global economic
struggle and the sphere of international affairs will
become more diversified and complicated. In foreign
policy, traditional approaches based solely on security
and defense are giving way to one that relies on
economic diplomacy and stresses economic priorities.
All these developments, inevitably have a bearing on
Turkey. They necessitate the formulation of a foreign
policy for the age of globalization, never mind that the
term seems to be temporarily out of fashion. Such a
formulation will emphasize Turkeys national
economic interests in the international arena.
It is very clear that in the 21st century our country
cannot rely only on her geographical location tobe an
important actor in world politics. During the Cold
War and certainly before then as well, where Turkey is
situated has inevitably given her a strategic value, and
offered her geo-strategic opportunities upon which her
foreign policy could be built. In the aftermath of the
Cold War, however, strategic thinking must take into
account economic parameters. Nowadays, the prerequisite of being a world power is to view international
relations from a wide perspective. A consequence of
this new configuration is that traditional concepts of
statecraft are no longer sufficient by themselves for the
conduct of policy. These days, we have to adopt a
more participatory concept of diplomacy. In order for
Turkey to reach the place she deserves in international
relations, she needs to mobilize all her resources ina
global sense, whether these be NGOs or private sector
organizations. At this juncture, we, businessmen, have

PR I VATE VIEW/ AUTUMN

1998

We consider our step to open a representative in


Washington, D.C., part of our mandate as a civil
society organization. The TSAD office, the first
such initiative by any Turkish civil society
organization, in the U.S., will be a reference point
on Turkey in the American capital. In order to protect and develop Turkeys national economic and
political interests in the strongest possible manner,
efforts will be made to take part in all the debates
and keep in close contact with political and decision
making bodies. Especially, between Turkey and US.
To this end, this office will be dealing with
American political institutions, non-governmental
organizations, academic circles and the media. It
will help the relevant circles in our country to benefit from its Washington experiences. TSAD will
also be present on international platforms that are
not focused directly in Turkish-American relations.
In addition to all this, TSAD will try to create the
necessary conditions to improve and diversify
economic relations between the two countries.
All these efforts are very important for Turkeys
future. By its location and by the very nature of its
international relations Turkey cannot be an
isolationist country for long. We also believe that the
current thaw in relations with Europe is temporary.
We have long advocated a series of structural reforms
to be undertaken in Turkey both in its economic
structures and its political system. We believe that
Turkey cannot afford to postpone these measures
forever. Exiting from the global order or reneging on
Turkeys international commitments are not viable
options for our country. In todays world, any
development that leads to a return to the closed
economy model of the past is untenable if not
impossible. Turkey will overcome its problems by
being politically and economically an open society and
by remaining an active participant in the global order.
TUSAD will keep on searching for new horizons,
new opportunities and new relations as it defends
Turkeys interests through economic diplomacy in
future years.

EU, we took it upon ourselves to continue


communicating with different bodies with the EU. This
also shows that we take the customs union agreement
with the EU as something far more comprehensive than
a trade agreement.
In the international arena, Turkey is faced with a
number of problems. In addition to the usual set of
issues a country needs to deal with, Turkey must
constantly be alert to attacks coming its way from a
variety of hostile groups, lobbying to undermine
Turkeys relations with its allies. In such
circumstances Turkeys efforts to counter the bad
publicity and the negative campaigns about its
policies seem wanting. The most fundamental reason for this is our inadequacy in international communications and our lack of effective lobbying. Here, the businessmen have important duties. Therefore, TSAD is getting ready to set on another one of
its diplomatic activities. It will send a representative
to Washington, D.C. to represent the Associations
interests and watch over economic and political
developments concerning bilateral relations with the
U.S. TSADs Representative Office in Washington
D.C. will start its operations in November 1998.
Recently, there has been a new dynamism and vitality in Turkish-American relations. These relations are
changing dimensions and are shifting from being
simply military and security relations to economic cooperation. This has brought to the agenda the concept
of enhanced partnership. In keeping with this concept,
the parties are making significant efforts to diversify
and deepen their relationships. However, the first requirement to develop a partnership is to have open
lines of communication and the flow of reliable
information between the two countries. Another requirement is to further deepen mutually beneficial
relations. Turkey needs to have a better understanding
of the U.S., its political and administrative system in
order to build this dialogue on solid foundations. Not
to do so will be against the long term interests of our
own country, especially if we miss important
opportunities due to inadequate information and

P R IVATE VIEW/ AUTUMN

1998