On April 15, 2015 the Office of the Commercial Attaché of the Turkish Consulate General to New England, International Economic Alliance (IEA), and MUSIAD USA organized the Second Turkish Investment Symposium at the Harvard Faculty Club in Boston, Massachusetts. The purpose of this event was to highlight Turkey and its role in the world and to continue to strengthen the business ties between the United States and Turkey.

MUSIAD is currently one of the biggest business NGO’s in Turkey with 11,000 members representing 45,000 companies, 85 branch offices in Turkey as well as 159 liaison offices in 63 countries, including DC, NYC and Boston in the near future. MUSIAD expressed its interest and desire to play a key role in creating a global network and contributing to the memorandum of understanding between the United States and Turkey.

MUSIAD USA President Mustafa TUNCER made opening remarks and presented keynote speaker, MUSIAD President Mr. Nail OLPAK. Participants included CEOs from top US corporations and Institutional Investors with interests in Turkey, Harvard Business School Professor Richard H.K. VIETOR, businessmen from Turkey, John T. McCarthy, Chairman of the Management Board of INGBank, Omur BUDAK, Consul General of Boston, Alperen KACAR, Commercial Attaché of the Turkish Consulate General in Boston were amongst the participants of the symposium.

MUSIAD’s President Mr. Nail OLPAK, stated the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008, and said “the crisis hasn’t been easy to overcome.”

According to Mr. OLPAK, since the 2008 crisis many countries experienced negative growth, while other countries displayed economic stagnation in the Euro zone. There was practically zero growth last year, and unemployment levels are still high and the risk of deflation is still valid.

Looking from the perspective of the power centers; US is still the largest economy in strategic power in the world. China is the fastest growing power and has been described recently as the “authoritarian capitalist’. China and the US seem to be the dominant actors in “a bi-polar global economic system.”

Prior to Mr. OLPAK’s remarks about Turkey, Mr. OLPAK encouraged the distinguished participants to examine the neighboring countries of Turkey. “Syria and Iraq are two countries with the highest number of death from the conflicts of the world. Greece struggling with a major economic crisis, surviving through rescue packages from EU and IMF. Ukraine is dealing with a civil war, and the occupation of Crimea. Iran is a country which has not been able to take its place in the global economic system. If we examine a bit further, we may go up to other problematic regions such as North Africa, Yemen, Israel-Palestine.”

His speech was holistic of the region and it enabled participants to identify the challenges within the region. Mr. OLPAK stated “Turkey is a country which is surrounded with crisis from all sides, yet Turkey has surprisingly removed it self from the surrounding problems. Turkey is managing to move forward with positive stability. Mr. OLPAK encouraged participants to examine the figures of the last decade. He noted that last year, even though progress is less than what it used to be before- Turkey’s economy increased 2.9 % while the European Union was satisfied with 0 % growth since this meant their economy would no longer decline.“

Mr. OLPAK discussed Turkey’s ambitious 2023 vision for Turkey becoming one of the top 10 economies in the world and raising the GDP to 2 trillion dollars, achieving 25,000 dollars per capita income, attaining 500 billion annual export level, raising the share of high technology product exports to 20%, and decreasing the unemployment rate to 5 %. Current progress demonstrates that Turkey is well on her way to making their 2023 vision happen.

Mr. OLPAK’s briefing was followed by responses to Harvard Business School Professor VIETOR’s thought provoking questions, and other participants. It’s important to note that participants were welcome to ask any questions they may have about Turkey. Mr. OLPAK did not decline to answer any questions.

Also, Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the President of the MUSIAD Chairman Mr. Nail OLPAK and the Founding Director of the International Economic Alliance Mr. Van McCormick.

At the conclusion of the symposium, MUSIAD businessmen visited Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and met with students and exchanged ideas.

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