Sabancı Holding’s Chairman Güler Sabancı Interviewed by Die Presse


guler_sabanci_100528_orjinal.jpgSabancı Holding's Chairman Güler Sabancı talked to Die Presse, one Austria's leading newspapers, following her receipt of a prize dedicated to the memory of well-known Austrian economist Joseph A. Schumpeter. In the interview, published under the title of "Turkey is the destiny of Europe", Sabancı shared her opinions on the position of women in the EU and in Turkey.

In response to the question "France and Austria are firmly against Turkey's EU membership. Do you not lose your optimism?" Sabancı said "The important thing is not reaching the point, but rather the progress that you have made. Process is more important than the result. This process is crucial in terms of democratization and human rights. However, we still believe in the EU in the sense of democracy and as a role model. We must accept that every country has its own short term domestic affairs. Elections can change many things. In France, Sarkozy has been elected and the country has taken on a dislike of Turkey. But elections will be held again. Democracies require patience, and optimism is the duty of all of us."

Assessing the progress of the EU as compared to Turkey's current economic condition, Sabancı said "Europe is still faced with an economic crisis, and its sovereign debt problems are a result of this crisis. However, Turkey has managed to pass through the crisis. The growth achieved by Turkey is very encouraging. The demographic facts are clear to us. By the year 2050, the EU's manpower will have been reduced by another 70 million. The accession of Turkey to the EU is our destiny. For the EU, this means more integration, more variety, more energy and new blood. Otherwise the EU will just turn into a stationary museum. Turkey's membership of the EU is inevitable".

Talking of Europeans' attitudes to Turkish people, Sabancı pointed out "Like most Turkish people, I consider myself to be a citizen of Europe. We have a 700-year history with Europe. If we work together, then it is very clear that both Europe and Turkey will benefit from this relationship. European companies invest heavily in Turkey, and this relationship represents our mutual attachment".

At the conclusion of the interview, Güler Sabancı expressed her thoughts on the position of women in Turkey, saying: "Women face great difficulties in the global business world. However, when the statistics on female senior managers are examined, in Turkey the rate is 26% while it is only 20% worldwide. In addition, Turkey's rate is higher than the rates in any of England, Germany or France. However, only 27% of Turkish women work, while almost 70% Austrian women are employed. In Istanbul and Izmir, the income per capita is very high. When we achieve Austria's GDP per capita, then women's participation in the labour force will increase."