The Meeting with the Attendance of Mr. Jeremy Keller,

The Principal Commercial Officer of the US Consulate General

November 1st, 2004 / Conrad Hotel


The Turkish-American Business Association held a meeting on November 1st, 2004 at the Conrad Hotel with the attendance of the Board Members and Mr. Jeremy Keller, the Principal Commercial Officer of the US Consulate General. In the meeting, in which Mr. Amer Kayani, Counselor for Commercial Affairs of the Embassy of the USA was actually an invitee, failed to appear because his flight was cancelled due to dense fog.


At the beginning of the meeting, the impact of the US elections on the Turkish-USA relations was discussed and it was expressed that regardless of who wins the elections, there will be no change in the policies of the USA towards Turkey.


Mr. Adnan Nas, the Chairman subsequently stated in the meeting that Turkish firms are in need of change; that TABA shall carry out certain work in order to reinforce and strengthen the corporate infrastructure of the Turkish enterprises, in particular the SMEs; to ensure that they get more competitive and to facilitate their entries into the finance and capital markets; thus to make them ready for cooperation and partnership with US companies; that TABA shall provide consulting services to  Turkish companies in relation to the methods and techniques to make business with US companies.


Mr. Nas emphasized that the EU membership target will help raise the standards in Turkey. Noting that what Turkey makes out of the EU membership is the same thing understood by the Englishmen; that France and Germany seek a regional Europe rather than a global one; however, the English pursue a far-ranging and flexible Union. Mr. Nas further pointed out that if the EU is willing to be a global power, it should have a powerful army. Mr. Jeremy Keller told the audience that Europe should be redefined and the USA substantially supports Turkey for the EU membership.


The Chairman Mr. Nas said that in the months ahead, TABA will deal with the preparations of two significant events; and reminded the audience that the first of them is a conference, to be held in March, covering far-reaching areas such as finance, technology and investment with a focus on Turkish–US relations and the other is an event to be jointly organized with the regional AmChams.


Later in the meeting, Mr. Jeremy Keller talked about the troubles, and the US pharmaceutical companies are suffering in Turkey. Mr. Adnan Nas indicated that they had talked to governmental representatives in this respect; but not a definite answer could be obtained and that he was reminded that one should not expect a tangible solution before 2007. Stating that Mr. Tevfik Gür, the Vice-Chairman and Head of the Legal Committee came together with the representatives from Lilly İlaç and is well aware of what’s going on. Mr Nas added that Mr. R.T. Erdoğan, the Prime Minister, designated Mr. Ethem Sancak, the Chairman of Hedef Alliance Holding after a considerable amount of complaints in relation to the subject matter, so as to contact the local and international producers and to ensure information flow.


Pointing out that there is no tax sparing article in the existing tax treaty between Turkey and the USA, Mr. Adnan Nas told the group that in order to incorporate this article into the treaty with the USA, which is included in tax treaties signed between Turkey and other countries and which prevents the development of the commercial relations between Turkey and the USA, TABA would contact the Ministry of Finance.


Mr. Adnan Nas provided Mr. Jeremy Keller with details on the amendments to the Corporate Tax Code, and assured him that an Informative Conference would be organized by TABA as soon as possible in this matter whose consequences may be significant.


Stating that TABA closely follows the 24th ATC yearly conference to be held between June 5th and 7th, 2004, Mr. Nas announced that members representing the Board of Directors will certainly attend the meeting and that there are some hearsays in relation to ATC, asking Mr. Jeremy Keller for help for  more detailed information on the subject matter.


Underlining that TABA should play an active but careful role in the membership of Turkey to EU, Mr. Nas told the audience that cooperation with AmCham-EU and other NGOs should be considered as an option. Mr. Nas stated that Mr. Mehmet Ateş, the General Secretary will get the support of Philip Morris for taking some parliament members to Brussels on December 17th.


Later on, Mr. Adnan Nas advised Mr. Jeremy Keller about the meeting organized by TABA for the presentation of the Qualified Industrial Zones in Jordan. He said that Turkey may well go into cooperation with Jordan and Israel until a Qualified Industrial Zone is established in Turkey.  Mr. Nas also added in this respect that TABA will establish a report. Mr. Adnan Nas said that firms failing to pay their dues will be ousted from membership and those firms which will bring much benefit to TABA will be welcomed.