Turkey’s Koç: We will concentrate our energy on investments

By: ADANA and ABDÜLKADİR CEMBEKLİ

Koç Holding is planning to invest a hefty TL 7 billion in 2014, around 10 percent more than the amount in 2013, but instead of incentives to facilitate these investments, the current atmosphere of tense political disputes in the country is creating hurdles, Koç Holding board member Ali Koç has said.

He said the group, the largest conglomerate in Turkey in terms of annual aggregate turnover from sales, will focus its energy on investment, nothing else.

Speaking to the press in Adana on Tuesday during an opening ceremony for the 42nd Koçtaş store in the province, the young businessman shared his opinions on the recent developments in politics and their impact on the economy as well the group’s projections for the current year and its strategies for the coming years.

He touched on the tax inspections that some companies in the group were subjected to since mid-2013, which was widely perceived by the media and the business world as deliberate government pressure on Koç Holding. “We can’t disregard them,” Koç said, adding: “They are consuming our energy and time. Our stance is clear as expressed by our chairman, Mustafa Koç. Our investments will continue. Companies like us must be encouraged,” he said.

He hailed the economy, praising its sturdy growth over the past decade and how resilient it has become to internal problems and external shocks.

There have been times in the past, Koç recalled, especially during sporadic economic crises, when Koç Holding felt suffocated and was unable to see its hand in front of its face, adding that nowadays, however, the air is so clear that the group is able to make long-term plans covering seven or even eight years to come.

“The conditions in our country in terms of its place in the global economy have never been so good. Despite the problems in the last six months, exchange rates remain steady. We now can acquire foreign companies. Our rating is on the rise. Foreign capital inflows have increased,” he said.

Koç also mentioned the country’s ambitious targets for 2023, the centennial of the founding of the republic, such as becoming one of the 10 largest economies in the world and $500 billion in annual exports. To be able to attain these targets, an environment shaped by universal legal principles is imperative, he asserted.

He said a number of “unpredictable and uncontrollable misfortunes” have hit the economy one after another recently, pushing Turkey to the position of being one of the mostly vulnerable countries in the league of emerging markets. He said he has strong hopes the economy will change its course soon and recovery will begin.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN