T20 Turkey Public Launch Held in Istanbul
Opened with the welcoming remarks by TEPAV Director Sak, the event hosted Deputy Prime Minister Babacan, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu, and ITO Chair Çağlar.
ISTANBUL – Public launch of the T20 Turkey, one of the G20 outreach groups of which represents think-tanks, was held on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 with a meeting themed “Transforming Global Governance.” Opened with welcoming remarks by Güven Sak, Director of T20 coordinator TEPAV, the event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) Chair İbrahim Çağlar.
TEPAV Director Sak stated that, in 2015, the G20 was expected to focus more on world inequality and development, adding, “But that wasn’t exactly the case. Since the beginning of 2015, we have seen global growth estimations revised down, the risk of deflation having been voiced, and the problems across Europe remaining intact. Addressing the problems of developing countries vis-à-vis developed countries therefore is yet to be added to the agenda.”
Sak stressed that under the existing circumstances, the G20 had to become more effective in bringing developed and developing countries together, saying, “One mechanism to consider in this regard is the diversification of communication platforms across G20 countries. The G20 outreach groups, including the T20, might have a major role here. This year, we will be working on strengthening the T20 as a platform for global policy dialogue, particularly with the support of esteemed Deputy President Ali Babacan. I hope that we will succeed with the contributions of all T20 participants.”
“We are expecting a remarkably productive T20 channel in 2015”
Delivering the opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Babacan said, “Today we are launching the T20. Think Twenty refers to think-tanks. I want to express in particular that the T20 is a critical channel, and a major group under the G20.”
Stating that the T20 has been in operation for three years, he added,
“But we are expecting a remarkably productive T20 channel this year in Turkey, under the leadership of TEPAV. TEPAV is an organization that was established under the leadership of Mr. Hisarcıklıoğlu, and it has earned a global reputation in a short time. It has launched the T20 activities, integrating the works of a number of peer think-tanks in Turkey. We are expecting the T20 to significantly contribute to each item on the G20 agenda. Sometimes we might suffer from professional blindness; some issues might go unnoticed. We have the B20, the L20.“
“The thing to do is identify an issue from 10 thousand meters above, and this is what we expect from the T20. To identify matters which go unnoticed as well as address the G20 agenda with an integrated approach. To fill in the blanks and, most importantly, as the name Think Twenty suggests, to develop new initiatives, new ideas, new polices, and new projects. This is our major expectation of T20, that is, innovativeness for G20 agenda.”
“These efforts will be critical this year: we will be monitoring the process closely. The T20 now has a sound global network. TEPAV has swiftly shown success in relation to its counterparts in G20 countries. Today, in this hall, is a remarkable assembly of think-tanks from many countries. And we are hoping that productive endeavors will be carried out the entire year. And we are saying, for the record, that Turkey’s presidency is different in every sense.”
Babacan underlined that the way that international media has covered Turkey over the last few years has not been very positive, and stressed that the works of the G20, B20, L20, and T20 are important in fixing this. He added, "If we can perform really well, by the end of the year if we can raise the impression, ‘Above all, the Turks have done good work; they have completed many projects during their presidency,’ and more importantly if we can extend the impression ‘Turkey’s presidency was a key player in resolving the world economic crisis’ it would be a remarkable success for our country.”
"G20 was formed because 8 countries were not enough"
TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stressed that a new vision regarding the traits of a global governance mechanism was needed, and therefore he attached great importance to the G20 process this year. Hisarcıklıoğlu, emphasizing that a strategy to cut debt ratios at global scale in the medium term was required, said, "As businessmen, we will be facing a more severe challenge in the short term. The global economy is switching to a new monetary policy. The FED has been turning down the taps; some central banks, particularly in Europe, are introducing quantitative easing. This is unprecedented for us."
"We want to minimize effects of fluctuation"
Hisarcıklıoğlu added that the corporate sector had to revise their estimates for 2015-2016 in the light of the new outlook, saying, "The effects of the new monetary policy practices are not limited to these. Harvard Professor Jeffrey Frankel says that the rapid fall in oil and commodity prices are also caused by monetary policy changes. This naturally makes decision-making processes more complicated for businesspeople like myself.”
“On the one hand, the US is debating how to raise interest rates that had been kept at zero for a long time; on the other hand we are debating in Turkey how to lower interest rates to attain long-needed high growth. As the business world, we support lower interest rates so that we can grow faster and generate employment for more people. On the other hand, we are engaging in efforts to minimize the effects of growing global fluctuations. "
“This mechanism will soon include the entire world"
ITO President İbrahim Çağlar stated that the story of globalization and institutionalization had started with think-tanks. Further adding that as G7 mechanisms transform into G20, he believes the entire world will soon be involved in the process. Çağlar pointed out that the relevant infrastructure and the roadmap would be developed by T20 members.