LET’S TRADE

Turkey 2014 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sırrı Şimşek, Chairman of Türk Barter, on the need for a larger barter system and the company's growing membership.

Sırrı Şimşek
BIOGRAPHY
Sırrı Şimşek began his career in 1992 at Tüpra, where he was the General Manager. He later worked as the General Manager at Ekonomix between 1998 and 2009. He then went on to found Turk Barter in 1998, and currently acts as Chairman.

How would you explain the need to develop the barter system in Turkey?

We believe that we need to have alternatives to the main existing financial system in the world. Our Prime Minister has also touched on this issue, mentioning the “interest rate lobby" recently. Across the world we find a global economic system based on the increase and decrease of interest rates, and banks are the main players. However, we see this system as being prone to making dire mistakes, which we have become all too familiar with over the past few decades. These dominant financial institutions do not work in the interest of the people, or for the country; they work for their own interests, supported by various governments. While banks should base growth on existing deposits, aiming to build on those deposits, we find instead that they seek to generate massive amounts of wealth based on credit, through easy loans, various financial instruments, credit cards, and the like. The future of the dollar and the euro is being debated. The world will be unable to survive more of these crises. These affect governments, countries, and states adversely, leading to turmoil. This can't go on. We need systems that enable everyone to grow, prosper, and expand together, and I think the barter system is an important alternative in this sense. The necessary legal framework and regulations are being established for this. The barter system has to become regulated, legal, and widespread.

Is there an international barter regulatory committee?

Yes, International Reciprocal Trade (IRT). In Turkey, however, there isn't one. Unless you establish the regulations and necessary legislation first, you won't get the players. This is what Turkey needs to do.

How many member companies do you have now?

Three years ago, we had 5,600 member companies, and now we have more than 7,000. These companies come from all sectors of the economy, and we expect this number to grow.

Which sectors are performing the best for Türk Barter?

The barter system develops based on supply and demand. Wherever there is demand for some services or products, it works for us.

How many branches do you have?

We have 10 branches in various cities.

Can you tell us about innovation in bartering?

We are looking to launch a barter credit card, which will have no interest charges, obviously. You can also use a barter check.

How is barter making the Turkish economy more efficient?

Before any company is able to join us, we perform our due diligence and investigate them. First, we make sure it has its finances in order. Then, we prepare special projects to establish financial balance, and then we work with companies. That way, we help create healthier companies, companies with better finances, and this directly contributes to the Turkish economy. The more we do to add SMEs with balanced and accountable finances to the Turkish economy, the better and healthier the economy will become.