I disagree. There are plenty of physical resources.

Yes, but they’re not used.

The real issue is about having an environment of debate, the ability to identify the right idea, and generating the initiative to proceed accordingly. Otherwise, it’s left to political choice.


Absolutely. But does the need to express our concerns about education reflect a lack of awareness about the problem? Ask anyone today what Turkey’s number one problem is, and they’ll say “education.” If you’re making a speech, the best guarantee of getting a round of applause is to say that education is our number one problem.

And yet, why is the demand for good education not as prominent as it could be in this society? Don’t we know well enough that this education system will not move our society forward? Do we really have expectations of this system?

There needs to be a starting point. We need more specialization and to work with experts. We need to focus on this matter. ERG has been doing it for years and the results are tremendous.

They’re actually struggling at the moment. Perhaps creating an alternative platform where they can voice and present their ideas might work; it would be good if Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) could work more closely with ERG, for example.

Yes. ERG is advocating the right things, as far as I can see. It makes sense to listen to them, to start there, to raise their profile, and discuss how to debate these issues with the public. Because they are in contact with the public.

Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) support would be a signal. Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) would be saying, “We’re not making the decisions, but we’ve listened and taken notes.”

There have been occasions, especially in 2011 and 2012, when the Ministry of Education listened to ERG and even involved them in their decision-making processes. Perhaps we ought to start by identifying the conditions and ideas that allow us to participate in the decision-making process.


Last but not least, and we might barely scratch the surface here, is women’s status in Turkey. Virtually everything we’ve discussed about education is valid here, too. We can say exactly the same things about the importance of both – about the status of women being an existential issue for society, and that it concerns the private sector equally. There are some interesting reports on this issue, which I’m sure you’ll have come across, such as The 2015 Power of Parity[7] by the McKinsey Global Institute and the Women Matter Türkiye 2016[8], jointly prepared by McKinsey and Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD). They make for gloomy reading; the problem doesn’t appear to be access to education either. It’s difficult to find data supporting assumptions along the lines of “We aren’t able to provide education to the girls,” or “Girls can’t access educational institutions.”

That an enormous potential for growth is wasted comes across very clearly, and it’s true for every country in the world. Studies indicate that narrowing the gender gap by 2025 would result in impressive growth worldwide. The same is true for Turkey, too. We’ve seen considerable activity of late in the private sector about this matter. Campaigns and programs on bridging the gender gap are increasing in number. Eczacıbaşı Group companies have made this issue a matter of priority. We’ve set some targets and actually adopted a policy of positive discrimination. More precisely, we have a principle of prioritizing women among candidates of equal qualifications. Which means that we’re trying to redress the imbalance. But it’s difficult to estimate how much impact this will have on the economy or society in general, how much it will benefit Turkey, what difference it will make.

Is there something we don’t know or haven’t thought of yet? You’ve made a number of highly interesting proposals today. Is there anything you’d like to say about this matter?

7. https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Featured%20Insights/Employment%20and%20Growth/How%20advancing%20womens%20equality%20can%20add%2012%20trillion%20to%20global%20growth/MGI%20Power%20of%20parity_Executive%20summary_September%202015.ashx 8. http://www.mckinsey.com.tr/arastirma-ve-yayinlarimiz/McKinseyWomenMatterTurkiye2016RaporSonuclariSunumu.pdf