Crossroads in Pandemics: Is It a Crisis or an Opportunity for Turkey?

December 02, 2020

Columbia Global Centers Istanbul featured Erol Bilecik (Index Group Chairman, Former President of TÜSİAD) at an online closed event hosted by our director Ipek Cem Taha and run jointly with Columbia Alumni Association Turkey. 

In his speech, Erol Bilecik underlined that the whole world is going through a tough exam during the pandemic and these challenging times might bring along some opportunities. He argued that throughout history, major global events have played a significant role in changing the ways humans see the world and this has been the case in the course of pandemics as well. In this respect, for example, he stated that the existing political and economic fault lines in the world are clearly exposed with the pandemic and our experience showed us that in the new world order to be built right after the pandemic, we need a system in which a more equitable and fairer distribution of wealth is ensured. In this new order, he continued, economic and political globalization based on an understanding of the social state should be adopted. 

On the other hand, discussing the position of Turkey in the world economy, he stated that it would not be impossible for Turkey to play one of the leading roles in the new supply chain architecture of the world thanks to Turkey’s geographical location, dynamic population, and quality workforce. In making this leap forward, he said, only the efforts of the state and private sector would not be enough rather a comprehensive work is needed. Besides the state actors and private sector, industrialists, universities, and civil society authorities should proceed in coordination and unity, which would consolidate Turkey’s role in the new world order as Bilecik argued. 

Lastly, he emphasized that technology will be the main trump card in the new world order and advised that youth should keep up with technological transformations in the world and adapt themselves to changes very quickly. 

The Q&A session included the questions from Ege Duruk and Emre Çiçek, Co-Chairs of the Columbia Alumni Association Turkey, and with the participation of our Academic Programs Coordinator Merve Ispahani.