Test, diagnose and cure… The SME Hospital and European Network project

The “SME Hospital and European Network project has been developed and implemented by  Afyonkarahisar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Turkey) in partnership with Siauliai Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts (Lithuania), Sibiu Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (Romania), Afyonkarahisar Commodity Exchange (Turkey), and Bingöl Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Turkey). It is one of 19 partnership projects which is being supported by the European Union in the framework of TEBD.

SMEs are the backbone of European economy and play a major role in exports as well as employment, not just in Europe but worldwide. The SME Hospital and European Network project aims to diagnose financial problems of SMEs and create sustainable and permanent solutions for problems that they encounter as well as bringing Turkish SMEs to a position where they can compete on the same level with their European counterparts.

Within the scope of SME Hospital and European Network project, Afyonkarahisar Chamber of Commerce and Industry has organized field trips to Romania and Lithuania and conducted study visits. After the study visits, a B2B meeting was organized in Afyonkarahisar with the participation of local and international project partners, Romanian Ambassador, Romanian Counselor and Lithuanian Counselor. In this meeting, Romanian and Lithuanian representatives presented their countries and possible business opportunities.

During the 15 months of the project, multiple educations and seminars were organized within the scope of the project increasing the knowledge of SMEs in managing financial resources and mentoring visits have been performed to 80 SMEs in Afyonkarahisar (Turkey), Bingöl (Turkey), Sibiu (Romania) and Siauliai (Lithuania), analysing and surveying their financial needs and knowledge. The results of the analysis and surveys identified the SMEs strong and weak points, leading to recommendations. Also, a free E-learning platform available in four languages (Turkish, English, Romanian and Lithuanian) on which SMEs can find education modules on finance and financial management has been created.

As a result of this project, SMEs have increased their awareness and financial knowledge on managing their financial resources effectively and flourish in the future.  Also, the project partnership has increased the mutual knowledge between Turkish Chambers and their counterparts in Europe.

Click here for more information about the Chamber Partnerships.

Tarsus Commodity Exchange Webinar on “Trade with Baltic States and Opportunities”

In January 2020 the TEBD Project organized a Study Visit to Latvia & Estonia on “Business Cooperation between Turkey and the Baltic States”. Mrs Pinar Alegöz, an International Trade Coordinator​​​​​​​ from Tarsus Commodity Exchange (Turkey) was one of the participants that had the chance to visit several factories and institutions that are producing according to the EU Acquis.

The Baltic States imports fresh fruits, vegetables, agri-food products, and produces wooden products. Seeing as the agriculture sector In the Tarsus region in Turkey is very developed, Tarsus Commodity Exchange saw great possibilities of collaboration between Turkey and the Baltic States after the TEBD Study Visit and took action towards potential collaborations and partnerships, and share best practices.

As a result of the TEBD Study Visit, for these purposes Tarsus Commodity Exchange organized a webinar on Trade with Baltic States and Opportunities’. During the webinar, the Commercial Counsellor of The Turkish Embassy in Vilnius, Mr Umit Atesagaoglu, introduced the Baltic States market to the members of Tarsus Commodity Exchange. Mr Atesagaoglu shared detailed information on importers of the Baltics States and Tarsus Commodity Exchange member sprang into action contacting these importers. The webinar proved to be successful and fruitful.

Currently Tarsus Commodity Exchange is digital commercial delegation during which introductions will me made and bilateral meetings will take place. When ruling allows, Tarsus Commodity Exchange will visit companies for possible collaboration and invitations will be extended to visit the facilities of the members in Turkey.

In recent days we are preparing a digital commercial delegation that they can have bilateral meeting and they can konow each other. After Covid-19 process we will visit companies de facto in Baltic States and also invite them to see our members’ facilities.

Turkey-EU Business Dialogue Webinar

Were you not able to participate in our #TEBD #webinar on ‘EU-Turkey Economic & Trade relations post COVID-19′?

Watch the full replay to learn more about challenges and ways to strengthen relations between European & Turkish businesses.


Strengthening EU and Turkey relations is vital for regional and global stability and security


Article by EUROCHAMBRES Vice President and President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, on what is needed for EU-Turkey relations to work to the benefit of an economic recovery post COVID-19.

Encouragingly, the effects of COVID-19 on health seems to be slowing down, which helps us to overcome the first shock and focus on our disrupted economies. According to the Spring 2020 version of the European Economic Forecast published in May, EU GDP is forecast to contract by about 7 ½ % this year, far deeper than during the Global Financial crisis in 2009, and to rebound by only 6% in 2021. According to IMF data, the global economy is projected to contract sharply by –3 percent in 2020. More than that the recovery is uncertain as many variables exist including the pathway of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated dramatically that we all live in an interdependent world, where inevitable spill over effects cannot be prevented, be it in the health or economic sphere. The pandemic has also directed many governments, international organizations, institutions and of course, individuals to question many issues

Long and complex supply chains became the first weak link hit by the crisis. One of the issues that pandemic led to questioning was to reorganize supply chains. Companies are likely to reorganize their global supply chains and they will start looking for ways of mitigating supply chain risks such as broadening the number of suppliers and shortening long trade routes. It seems that countries with a high labor force, sufficient logistics capacity and not very dependent on China may become new production centres in the coming period.

Turkey’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Central Asia offers geographical advantage. Taking into account the competitive manufacturing capacity and proximity to the Eurozone importance of deepening Turkey-EU trade relations and exploiting the untapped potential cannot be underestimated. During the COVID-19 Turkey has already successfully mobilized its production eco-system.  Garments manufacturer turned their production lines from clothing to masks and some defence companies have started to manufacture respiratory machines designed by a Turkish start up. Such a quick manoeuvrability is the result of the flexibility of Turkish entrepreneurs and this also contributed to the global fight against coronavirus in which Turkey has provided medical supplies more than 50 different countries. Additionally, how adequate health services, medical devices, and PPE[1] in Turkey is also proved to the whole world during this pandemic.

One of the issues that Turkey can contribute is the discussion on the role of the EU in the international system.  As Josep Borrell has already mentioned during the 9 May Europe Day speech, EU’s response to the coronavirus will define global role of the EU for the years to come. EU should play a leading role not only in trade and security but also in areas like migration, digital economy, cyber security, and disease control. Therefore, EU needs to rebuild a new multilateralism, in which the European Union can and will play an important role. I believe that this new multilateralism mentioned by Josep Borrell cannot be “exclusionary” anymore. It should be “inclusionary” multilateralism.

However, effective multilateralism requires committed and reliable partners. Indeed, Turkey is the most important partner of the EU on the issues that EU faces challenges such as terrorism, migration, radicalization, xenophobia, security of the energy supply and currently we have seen that Turkey is one of the reliable and strong partners on disease control as well. During the Covid-19 crises Turkey demonstrated that it is a country reliable and loyal to their international alliances.

Although various scenarios presented for the global order after COVID-19, no matter what scenario, we should admit the reality of strengthening EU and Turkey relations is vital for regional and global stability and security.

As TOBB[2] which represent 1.5 million enterprises in Turkey, our main mission is to enhance economic growth, increase the competitiveness of our members and improve our country’s business and investment environment. In my capacity as the President of TOBB I believe that although Turkey-EU relations have suffered in the recent period, it is high time to review and strengthen our relations. In these difficult times we can start with the economic and commercial issues, the EU should not refrain from taking steps in matters that would be to its own benefit. It goes without saying that untapped potential of the Turkey-EU Customs Union should be exploited by deepening and widening our economic relations. This is needed for the economic recovery of Europe and Turkey post COVID-19

Finally, we should not also ignore the idea that countries can only come out of this bottleneck collectively, otherwise the problems in one country will affect others, based on the notion that “Nobody is safe until everyone is safe”.

Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, EUROCHAMBRES Vice President and President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey


Further information: Dominic Boucsein, Tel. +32 2 282 08 50,
Press contact: Ms. Karen Albuquerque, Tel. +32 2 282 08 62,
All EUROCHAMBRES’ press releases can be downloaded from

[1] Personal Protective Equipment
[2] TOBB : The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey- (


EUROCHAMBRES Article Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu EU-Turkey trade relation post-COVID

Turkey-EU Business Dialogue Webinar

Would you like to know more about EU-Turkey Economic & Trade relations post COVID-19? On Thursday June 11th at 14:00 CEST | 15:00 EST, the Turkey-EU Business Dialogue is holding a live webinar on the topic.

During the webinar, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs & Director for EU Affairs and Ambassador Faruk KAYMAKCI, the Head of EU Delegation to Turkey and Ambassador Christian BERGER, TOBB President M. Rifat HİSARCIKLIOĞLU, and EUROCHAMBRES CEO Arnaldo ABRUZZINI will analyse and discuss the economic and trade relations between the EU and Turkey, and how it can be further strengthened so as to maximize the benefits for both sides.

Click here to register >>