Let’s show some empathy with the troubles of Turkish industrialists…

The expectations of industrialists must not be ignored in the midst of increasing FX rates, diplomatic conflicts, and new possibilities in Turkish politics because they are the ones who ensure the survival of this country.

I moderated more than 60 meetings of minds over the last two years. Nearly 20 meetings took place in Organized Industrial Zones. The industrialists I met during these meetings gave me hope, but seeing the situation they’re in I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. Everywhere I go, each and every industrialist I meet say that they are taken for granted. And these words do not come only from the leaders of labour-intensive industries. From Aeronautics and Space to Automotive, leaders from every type of industry are not happy with the current situation.

The most common problems in Organized Industrial Zones are:

  • In some OIZs, you can’t find a branch or a rep of financial institutions
  • Government doesn’t provide loans for infrastructure
  • Railroad tracks aren’t fully built yet
  • There are still problems in urban transportation
  • OIZs’ demands for a Firefighting unit and Security services haven’t been met yet
  • Failure to establish a proper Joint Acquisition and Joint Sale organisation
  • HR Issues and Problems
  • Poor telecommunication and automation infrastructure
  • Lack of cooperation between the government, private sector and universities
  • Inability to expand the capacity due to inadequate land

Of course, these issues may vary from zone to zone. But, no matter where we go, everyone complained to me about the same challenges and asked for the same things. Some of them were directly correlated with funding. The participants of these meetings asked the bank reps to offer different types of collateral.

“Industrialists are in pain…”

Some of their demands on the other hand directly involved matters regarding civil administrations, municipalities and obviously the government. Municipalities seemed angry with the OIZs, claiming that they could not do their jobs due to lack of funding. They are asking the leaders of the OIZs to find the money and then they will do whatever the OIZs want. I have also observed that the services offered by Türk Telekom were quite inadequate for a very expensive price!

The rest of the requests were about the common problems business leaders experience in their multilateral relations. Although I always insist that an industry inventory is a must in Turkey, including the OIZs, the participants say that the companies avoid providing such information. It seems very unlikely to carry out Joint Acquisition or Joint Sale activities under the circumstances since according to companies, each and every tiny corporate detail should be considered “classified information”!

By the way, there is a common complaint in almost every organized industrial zone: Real estate experts authorized by Capital Markets Board of Turkey are misspecifying the current value of their companies, hence banks’ unwillingness to offer loans to industrialists.

I think all public opinion leaders and institutions in Turkey must convene to discuss the ways to improve OIZs. It’s the only way to have a clear idea about the current state of human resources, technology and critical infrastructure in these zones.