In Switzerland, where I visited at the invitation of an international brand, I had the chance to meet many investors from various parts of Europe. I was surprised to see that these investors, who have a considerable amount of interest in almost every corner of the world, have merely touristic information about Turkey.
I learned that one French supplier among the guests of the hotel I was staying in is selling some rare items to his customers in Turkey. Except that Frenchman, dozens of different people I have met hardly knew our country, apart from Istanbul and Bodrum. However, they were very interested in Turkish politics and they asked me numerous questions about the upcoming elections and Turkey’s stance on the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
The investors also stated that Europe is caught between the rising far-right tendencies and fundamentalist movements. Describing Putin as the “biggest scourge of the world”, they said they are afraid that a conflict between Islam and Christianity might soon occur in Europe. Frankly, I agree with what they say about Putin. What I found to be more interesting was their ideas about the business environment.
“The Pandemic Disrupted Everything.”
Many said that remote work causes poor performance, but no one wanted to return to the office environment and they were unable to persuade employees to come back. I replied that we have similar situations in Turkey, adding, “Nothing will be the same as before. So, we must get used to it”.
While most of them agreed with me, many complained that their employees are having difficulty in convincing customers through a computer screen. Well, it’s true that it’s not easy to execute the art of influencing others with the tone of your voice and your gestures in a digital conversation.
When they added that, an inflation rate around 10-12% utterly disrupts the business environment, I informed them about the inflation rate in Turkey, which, as you might imagine, led to a long and shocked silence. “I suppose you meant 6.4%,” said one investor. “No. You heard it correctly. It’s 64%” I repeated my answer. Luckily, people suddenly forgot all about our inflation rate when an investor from Venezuela reminded others of the Venezuelan inflation rate.
As I am writing these lines, I’m on my return journey to Turkey, and I think I can sum up my visit by saying that Europeans are not unhappy since there is no shortage of essential food items and energy supplies in Europe, especially for heating, however, people are anxious about the future. Yet they do not fear the likelihood of a recession. Therefore, I could confidently say that Turkish imports will get through the first six months of the year without running into too much trouble.