Ali Bahçuvan/Economist We have worked ceaselessly, never lost our hope and finally become a full member of the federation of European shareholdersassociations (Euroshareholders). Thanks to our European friends for their support…
After Every Hardship Comes a Success
We have worked ceaselessly, never lost our hope and finally become a full member of the federation of European shareholdersassociations (Euroshareholders). Thanks to our European friends for their support…
Along with our country which has set out for the European Union (EU), we also got to work on. In 2003, we began to think about and inquire what we can do for Turkey. Could BORYAD conduct lobbying activities that can help Turkey also in the international arena? Could it represent hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign investors, who have invested in Turkey, also abroad? Or were we just dreaming?
Every miracle begins with a dream. We have learned this through experience. Our efforts were rewarded and we came upon Euroshareholders (Federation of European Shareholders Associations). They admitted us to membership, but according to their regulation could grant us only the status of honorary membership. Non-EU countries could not obtain full membership. That situation did not demoralize us. Our country was already on the road to full membership and we knew that as they got to learn more about us they would like us and change their regulation which had never been changed for years.With this thought on our mind, we joined the federation as honorary member. Despite being an honorary member we have been mentioned many times in both domestic and foreign press, our research papers werepublished by most prestigious journals and included in doctoral theses at universities. These have impressed them much. We have never missed a single meeting, never gone to meetings without presents and brought along handicrafts that reflect our country’s historic heritage.
Nor is this all… We have invited them to Turkey and showed them around in our beautiful country. We have personally made friends with every one of them. At the point eventually arrived, we made only one request to them:“It can take longer for Turkey to become full member to the EU. Could you grant us full membership by changing your regulation?” The answer was unequivocal: Unanimously YES! I am proud that we have overcome these difficultiesin the name ofour country and become a full member to a federation that has a huge lobbying power within the EU.BORYAD has come to have a say in this distinguished federation by now.
“We are a member of an EU-based federation but still face visa problem”
There is also another side to the story. I would like to tell about it as well. We left Turkey to join the meeting on December 6, 2010 at which our full membership would be voted. We had obtained our visas, which was actually not needed according to EU legislation, by submitting more than needed documents. Ours was a two-year, multiple-entry cultural visa. Unfortunately, it turned out that there was a mistake and that our visa would begin on December 9. We did not take note of this. On December 5, we landed at Frankfurt Airport to arrive in the city of Wiesbaden where this year’s meeting would be held. We were stopped at the gate where they controlled visas. They told us “Yes, you have a visa but it begins four days later and you cannot enter the country now.” We had difficulty understanding for which reason a group that had entered this country many times before and apparently came there to attend an important meeting after already getting visa could be stopped.
Oddly enough, when going to the meeting at which our full membership would be voted we were stopped at the Frankfurt Airport due to a small visa problem and had to return to Turkey!
German police have actually treated us rather kindly but told us they did not have the authority, that they had to send us back to Turkey, that it was a mistake of Lufthansa Airways to bring us and that the company would be fined for the mistake. What could the company do? We had visa and it turned out they had not paid attention to the date!
I immediately called our embassy. Although it was 8 a.m. on Sunday, the security guard at the embassy answered the phone and told me he would convey the issue to the related officer. In less than 15 minutes, the officer at the Frankfurt consulate who was informed about the issue by the embassy called my mobile and told they would do everything to help us. They called the security director at the airport, struggled and worked hard but the German bureaucracy did not give way.After waiting for five hours, the passport police brought us to the plane with the politeness of a friend and explained that they were deeply sorry for the event and hence we returned to Turkey.
We got proud of our embassy
Despite this entireunfortunate event, officers of our embassy and consulate have impressed me much with their speed,diligence, politeness and with their readiness to come to assistance even at the early hours of Sunday. I felt proud of being a Turkish citizen. On the other hand, I felt sorry for the EU people who do not understand such a hard-working anddevoted nation.
When we came back, we conveyed the event to our friends at the federation through e-mails. They were all touched. Andour friends, some of whom are retired ambassadors, have told they would bring the issue to EU agenda and complain about it. According to them, it was a shame even to demand visa from us. Besides that, the treatment we faced was an inconceivable scandal.
I would like to thank all the friends who have admitted us to full membership after that eventful journey. I would like to thank those people who oppose a world in which people are divided into classes for any reason whatsoever. In addition to this, I saw that the statement “For every hardship, there is a facility” holds really true. As long as a person believes this and continues to struggle in accordance with it.