Turkish economy 'stronger after coup': Chambers head
 Turkish economy has become more resilient after the July 15 coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), head of the country’s top business organization said on Tuesday.

"We have continued hosting 3 million Syrian refugees, on the other hand we have been fighting with terrorist groups, PKK and Daesh," Rifat Hisarciklioglu, President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), said at a regional economic corporation meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran.

"The July 15 coup attempt came on top of all this," he said. 

Hisarciklioglu said despite fighting against terrorist groups and the coup bid, Turkey's economy did not suffer.

"Our economy has overcome the coup attempt and is even getting stronger," he said. 

Hisarciklioglu was attending the 21st Executive Committee Meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization - Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI) in neighboring Iran. 

ECO was established in 1985 by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan to stimulate regional development, build economic and technical relations and tighten cultural and historical ties.

Other member states such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined the organization after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

CCI, a regional institution within the ECO, says it aims "to contribute to enhance economic cooperation and relations in trade, industry, agriculture, tourism, contracting, engineering and banking sectors as well as to realize joint investments among the member states."

Hisarciklioglu said some 16 percent of the world's total oil reserves and 24 percent of the proven natural gas reserves are located in the ECO countries.

"We are also standing on the world energy corridors and trade routes. Half of the world population, almost 3.5 billion people, are living in the contiguous countries," said Hisarciklioglu.

But he claimed members do not benefit enough from the organization's potential.

"We have awesome fertile lands. We have a great history and human capital. Despite all these advantages, we receive only 2 percent share from the global trade," he said.

Hisarciklioglu called for removing visa requirements among ECO members.

"Although Turkey has no visa restrictions for almost all the ECO members, Turkish citizens have visa-free access to only a few ECO countries," he said. "We should put an end to these malpractices. A man does not need a visa to enter his brother's house."

Turkey's government has said the defeated coup, which left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, was organized by followers of Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his FETO network.

Gulen is accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.
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