Our duty as the business world is to move forward on our road map within the framework of the diaspora identity we have determined as DTİK

The World Turkish Business Council 10 th Kurultai will be held on September 15-16, 2023, at Haliç Congress Centre. Foreseen to host over 2,000 Turkish businesspeople, scholars, artists, athletes, and entrepreneurs from 6 continents, the Kurultai aims to increase the economic power of the Turkish community living abroad. Nail Olpak, President of DEİK, elaborated on the 10th DTİK Kurultai for Business Diplomacy readers and touched upon the importance of the concept of diaspora and DTİK activities.


The World Turkish Business Council (DTİK) was founded in 1996 under the leadership of the late Sakıp Sabancı. Back then, it was named the World Turkish Entrepreneurs’ Kurultai. We held the following kurultais in 1998, 2004, 2007, and so on. This year we are organising it for the 10th time. The congress is a feast that brings our diaspora together. A diaspora of 6 million people all over the world.

The congress will be a full 2-day programme where we will bring together the representatives of this diaspora, discuss our activities, elections of country representatives and regional administrations will be held, and we will discuss the concept of diaspora with the authorities of our country and representatives of friendly diaspora.


The concept of diaspora is not a good concept in our memories when we consider it from the perspective of Türkiye. We sometimes even avoid using the word diaspora. Since the concept of diaspora mostly reminds us Armenian diaspora. In our memory, the activities of the Armenian diaspora against us are still present. There is also the Jewish diaspora. This is a diaspora with which we sometimes have a good relationship and sometimes a tense one. As this is the case, we are unable to consider the concept of diaspora in a welcoming way. However, the diaspora is said to have a history of 2500 years. In my opinion, diaspora has existed as long as human history has existed as diaspora is a structure that comes from dispersal and migration. Diaspora is formed by the coming together of communities and groups that have been subjected to involuntary migration. Therefore, diaspora is a process that has been in our lives since the beginning of human history.

Over time, the meaning of the concept of diaspora kept changing. Today, diaspora is aimed to be considered as learning to live together with the society in which one lives, while at the same time preserving one’s own values. When we talk to our diaspora in the programmes we attend, in the meetings we hold in countries, we tell them that, of course, we know that they love the motherland and that they have not severed their ties with the motherland. If such people are affected in the society they live in, this leads to negativity. People should be aiming to influence the society they live in through ethical and legal values. This will bring real qualified power.


Some time ago, we were using expressions such as Former Turkic Republics or Turkic States. In the past process, a step forward was taken in terms of legal structure and the Organisation of Turkic States was established. The organisation has its own representatives and observer states. Friendly diaspora must also be included in this union. For example, Pakistan is a friendly diaspora we deem very important. Needless to say, we already hold Azerbaijan dearly in terms of friendship. The Armenian diaspora poses the most problems for us within the framework of other diaspora.

We are in a period of political rapprochement with Armenia. Our expectation is that the Armenian diaspora will cease to be a negative factor, if not a supportive one, in the process to come. The political steps are underway by our politicians and leaders. Our duty as the business world is to move forward on our road map within the framework of the diaspora identity we have determined as DTİK.


We say that the only thing that does not change is change itself. Concepts are also bound to change. Globalisation was one of the concepts that entered our lives a while back. This concept keeps existing, however, in today’s world we are experiencing an economic process that we call glocalisation, where globalisation and localisation come together. It is also natural that what we experience in the economy is reflected in our social life.

We have gone and are still going through two challenges, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War. These two events had certain impacts on world trade. We have witnessed that globalisation brings along certain risks and that dependence on a single source may cause world trade to be disrupted. The chip crisis in China and the grain crisis in Ukraine are two examples of this issue.

Following these events, the concept started to change and we started to talk about the concept of “accessibility”. The concept of logistics has changed its meaning, turning into the capability of delivering something to the other party. We started to turn to suppliers that are close to us who are easily reachable, rather than large suppliers. This situation also came to the fore in glocalisation. This term refers to being global and harbouring localism at the same time. The concept of diaspora should also be perceived in this way.

We are happy for our diaspora to return to their homeland if they wish to do so. Yet as far as we know, the majority of them want to live in the place they went to. If that is the case, we must ensure their well-being where they live and improve their qualifications. What we mean by increasing their qualification is to ensure that they are involved in decision-making mechanisms. When we do this, I think that the concept of soft power will be more in place.


Financial access should be considered in general terms. I am an engineer and I believe in the importance of technology. The processes of change in our lives should also be seen here. Before, robustness was at the forefront when producing products. However, as time passed, cost, design, and aesthetics also began to be taken into account besides robustness. Where these concepts have changed, financing began to stand out in today’s world. You may have very good ideas that you want to realise today, but it is difficult to do so if you do not have the financial infrastructure to support it.

On the other hand, it is possible to say that money has changed its meaning. For instance, money used to be a precious metal. This precious metal was converted into banknotes and paper, and after a period of time, paper was transformed into interbank transfers with the click of a button, and today we have entered a period in which money is almost out of circulation and virtual currencies are being discussed. Therefore, financing has become one of the most important issues in this change. This also applies to our diaspora. Financing conditions may vary according to the countries where our diaspora are located. Cheap and easy access to finance, i.e. quality finance, is not the same in every country. A diaspora representative living in the USA does not have the same access to finance as a representative in the Far East. That said, financing is a must in this regard. In order for them to become effective with their numbers, we would like our diaspora to be in the decision-making bodies in the places where they are located, as well as to be better than their current conditions in terms of financial power.


Diaspora activity is not an issue that we can explain only within the framework of DEİK and DTİK. It is a widespread activity that everyone should be contributing to. Within the diaspora, states definitely assert their presence in order to protect their own citizens and support them within the framework of the legal values of the country they live in. The Foreign Affairs Organisation of each country is located in the relevant countries for this reason. Subsequently, Ministries, the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities, Yunus Emre Institute, and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) can be given as examples.

DEİK is a non-governmental organisation established in 1985, operating through the 152 business councils. Besides our country-based business councils, we have six sectoral and two special-purpose business councils. One of our special purpose business councils is the World Turkish Business Council (DTİK).

As DTİK, our target audience is our diaspora and businesspeople living abroad. But we are not talking about a process limited to them. Our target audience includes artists, scholars, sportspeople, representatives of non-governmental organisations, people or institutions working closely with the state. We maintain the organisation with 6 regions around the world. In our congresses, the members of the countries first elect the representatives of the countries. Country representatives also elect regional boards and regional chairs. This year, we will hold this election with our Kurultai on September 15-16, 2023.

The largest concentration of our diaspora in terms of population is in Germany, followed by France and the Netherlands. The diaspora living in the UK and the USA are characterised by the idea of education and starting a business. In the European framework, the situation is somewhat different. It will be more meaningful if we can make the 3rd generation living there more organised and become decision-makers in the society where they live, not only by producing value in financial terms. We will be focusing on these issues in the upcoming period.