Ahmet Yaşar Canca, Chairman of the Chamber of Marine Engineers, within the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB GEMİMO) viewed the state of Turkish and global maritime with economic, strategic, and technical details for MarineDeal News readers
Nations around the world are dealing with more than one issue at the moment and these issues continue to grow. What do you think is global maritime’s foundational issue? How would you view the root issue so that people are able to understand this?
Nations around the world are unfortunately dealing with more than one foundational issue when it comes to maritime. Let’s think of it this way, nearly 77 percent of world seas are mankind’s common property, and this is the division for the use of underwater natural resource as well as maritime activities in the seas. When issues caused by global warming and energy-food problems are added to the fight, these areas become very important, and everybody is interested in having a right to speak and rightful ownership. The root cause here is due to the fact that mankind is after wealth. However, issues can be better understood and more easily resolved if prosperity is brought forth. The other foundational issue is the impact of the development of technology and changes in ship and port structures. When energy efficiency comes forward in maritime, the needed for eco ships are combined with digitalization which brings up a new ship management model. While the chaos due to efforts on unmanned ships and cyber threats remind us of several risks, there is another issue that goes unnoticed.
The status of ownership and confidentiality of the equipment on ships as well as the software used in this equipment will bring up the matter of ship ownership on the agenda in the near future. Think about it. An average of 16 different software is being used on a ship right now and some of this software needs to be updated. They will not work if they are not updated. In the near future, there will be a request to update all software using cyber-attacks as a reason. The training of maritime personnel in accordance with these changes is also a separate issue. Training is a long topic but if we try to explain it briefly: When all technological and digitalization developments can be modified on the equipment after tens of tests, the premise that maritime employees can be modified like machines is, in my opinion, a basic issue that the sector faces every day and is likely to increase. In situations where each country and port increase regulations and maritime employees are not given much permission to step on dry land at ports, the deterioration of the employees’ psychology is far greater in comparison to the deterioration of their physical bodies. The STCW Convention is almost outdated. It is necessary to update training models in accordance with these new systems and implement them.
If only developed countries would respond honestly. Would they really want less developed countries to advance in maritime? We are moving toward a time when they will not even sell technological ships in line with new regulations to less developed nations for money.
By defining this group of issues within its micro and macro environment, could you please share your suggestions for solutions along with economic development principles?
It is not easy to make suggestions for solutions. Solutions where all issues will be handled together can be developed, but it has to be accepted by the IMO as well. Yet, nations have regional differences as well as needs based on differences in their level of technological advancement. The most basic difference is when developed nations are researching unmanned ships, other countries have to consider the unemployment issues of maritime employees with a casuistry approach. I believe that these issues will not end as long as there is an instinct to protect wealth. If a solution is desired… Each country will surely continue to act independently within its own limits of sovereignty, but it is possible to transition to a new model where everybody will have a share in the responsibility as well as the prosperity by implementing more extensive and participatory models in mankind’s common areas with the help of the STCW Convention. The biggest obstacle ahead of this is the wealthy nations’ and the wealthy’s addiction to wealth and their fear of losing it.
Could you view the pros/cons of the issues in Turkey as well as its area of interaction in the region?
The Republic of Turkey is a secular state of law which prioritizes the welfare of its people. Although the implementation issues hurt us, it is a democratic state. Even those who are unaware of the value of democracy are noticing its value each day. The Turkish youth is a generation educated with multiple disciplines set forth by Atatürk and its foundational philosophy and has multiple levels of intelligence. When not left in limbo with fear, they can be very successful in every area. An ambitious generation with high energy, which shed all apolitical labels is growing every day. Even if we do not cover its geopolitical importance, the multiple disciplinary structure of this youth, its ambition and energy can pose an example to other nations as well.
Which areas can foreigners develop businesses in with Turkish maritime employees? How would you like to address foreign states or companies?
Turks are a nation with high organizational skills, and they dote on their state and their flag in particular. When people who would like to do business with Turks come to our country with the understanding of these two values, they will be quickly internalized by the employees and taken care of. This is why the employees’ sense of belonging is a great treasure for them, even if they are far away. Cooperation can be done in every aspect of maritime.
How do you view western nations’ policies on the matter of “asylum-seekers” and “refugees”?
The issue of asylum seekers is a historical one. People move from the lands they are born in to lands where they can eat. This is the law of nature. This situation which developed naturally in the beginning continued to be acceptable under natural disasters and catastrophes. Unfortunately, the wealthy Western nations can never give up on their colonial mindsets. When they face units who resist colonialism and fight for economic independence, they break up these regions using their money, knowledge, and military power; kicking people out of their homelands and forcing them to fear for their lives while, ensuring they live this way, they themselves conduct research and development to prepare for new situations. Therefore, refugees do not mean much for them. The solution is ensuring people can eat in lands they are born in. Will they do it? No. They boast of the resources they spend on whoever develops the more advanced weapon.
States-societies-economic-actors-the private sectoractors-private sector managers-universities-leaders of nongovernmental organizations… All these actors are taking a role in the creation and implementation of sustainable policies. People with an advanced negotiation culture handle coordination and produce intellectual products, yet for some reason the process turns into a situation with zero outcome in certain countries and the project that is thought through, worked on cannot be realized. The vicious cycle cannot be broken. What should be done and how, what kind of roles do rule setters and “task executors” have here?
There are three main elements in the success of an event. Knowledge/intelligence + energy and unity. Therefore, higher planning should be done by the most well-equipped people, ensuring organizations work toward the same goal. Otherwise if everybody runs after what they each believe is the best, even with good intentions, a conflict of power within the system will become inevitable and one day you’ll have nothing to show for. Everybody who has something to say should be listened to and nobody should be marginalized. Ahmet Yaşar Canca Ahmet Yaşar Canca Ahmet Yaşar Canca
The western nations’ wholesaler and selfish approach peak especially when it comes to the exploitation of underdeveloped countries. What are the lessons the West should learn from the East?
Colonialist western nations brought the East to this situation by exploiting them. The most famous museums in western countries are almost full of artifacts brought from eastern nations. Westerners are always learning lessons from eastern nations. They are in fact afraid because eastern nations have created civilizations that they have not been able to. Now that they are dominating, they meddle things up thinking that they will fall behind if they leave eastern nations alone. If that is not enough, they lure their developed minds to their own countries. If they refuse to come, they make the administrations in eastern nations dismiss them.
Humans who are social creatures are evolving in a negative direction. What kind of concrete-constructive work can world’s academic circles do regarding the direction of the evolution?
American Indians have a saying: A man has two dogs within, one good and one bad. Whichever you feed is who you will become. The academic world should feed the good dog, but they feed the bad one instead. In addition, having an academic mindset is like art and being an artist. It is not a job. Many academics around the world do it as a job, therefore conflict of interests that come up as part of the job are an obstacle against academic development. Ahmet Yaşar Canca Ahmet Yaşar Canca
If we call this device a state, what kind of a change in mindset should the government, bureaucracy, private sector managers, nongovernmental organizations and others go through essentially? How would it be if there were people who think within the framework of philosophical methodology for the present and the future of our country, our people and surely the world? How would jobs and deliverables be integrated into life? How should it be computed?
We should first talk to our own egos. We need to be friends with our egos because our egos almost shield our behavior. When coupled with the premises we unconsciously implement, it becomes a mess. All religions say that “property belongs to Allah” but those who have obtained property using Allah in every society and time period have reinforced their own power. They rule the people by leaving them in fear. When worldly fears are not enough, they feed the outer world’s fears. Therefore, states or large companies always create fear. Fear brings unhappiness, unhappy people form unhappy societies. Thinkers have always stated this. Yet, as long as people with suppressed egos take revenge through other means, peace and tranquility on earth will always be on edge. I am on the side of working hopefully yet I am not very hopeful on this matter. If there is need for a model, then systematic issues should be studied. If entropy of systems, meaning vectors or forces which will shift the balance of systems and push them into instability, exist even on a small scale, that system will eventually reach instability. Planned economy just like liberal economy is not a stable system. Forces pushing the disregarded system into instability are suppressed or ignored in both of them. First this situation should be analyzed and the factors that cause instability should be eliminated. If I need to give an example: Those who stand against decisions made based on the majority are a threat to the stability of the system. For instance, when people cannot be rulers for more than 2 terms and power changes hands and everybody uses power, since everybody has eliminated whatever can be used against them, after a while the system will reach stability and become sustainable. But if you keep power in the hands of one group, there will never be stability. Ahmet Yaşar Canca
The power struggle determined by those dominating waterways continues on the predetermined routes or alternative developing routes within an active and ruthless competition. Where is the world evolving with this mindset? Who will prevail from this struggle of the good and not good? Will it evolve into the World War III that experts have been recently referring to? How will stagflation impact world economies and developing countries? Are world authorities interested in prioritizing peace instead of war or are they indecisive?
Liberal and planned economies are not sustainable economies. Mankind is aware of the mixed model where both are implemented together and that this model can be successful. However, for some reason it cannot be used. Therefore, crises constantly break out to cover up this fact. Even in developed Western nations, a crisis emerges when conflict between the ruler and the subjects emerge. Stagflation is a tool used for this. It means inflation during stagnation. The race for growth is dragging mankind into a disaster because growth is created not through the people’s needs but triggered consumption instead. Growing line of credit using created bank funds push people toward easy consumption while a decline in bank funds leads to many people living solely to pay off their debt. Whichever factions are aiding from this system will constantly trigger it. If we were to give an example, $2 trillion of the FED’s money injected into the financial system returns to the FED without ever being used. Why? The answer to this provides many explanations. Ahmet Yaşar Canca
The Turkish shipbuilding sector’s share in the global commerce market in 2021 was 0,7 percent, which is equivalent to $1,6 billion. This figure was nearly 1 percent in 2020, equivalent to $1,375 billion in value. Which policies can Turkey develop to bring these figures up?
The shipbuilding sector is important to us. Think about it, we have been able to build ships since the Ottoman Empire. Shipbuilding faculties are the oldest ones and are still very highly popular. We also have classification organizations such as Turk Loydu. However, I believe that maritime is hindered in Turkey. Therefore, I believe when Turkey declares maritime as a strategic sector and eliminates these obstructions, our share will quickly increase to 5 percent and later to 5 to 8 percent. The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits is vastly important and a successful agreement for Turkey. Nations which had to accept the terms of this agreement under the conjuncture in 1936 are using their power to prevent Turkish maritime from developing.
Can Turkish shipowners compete against the world?
Turkish shipowners are taking a small share from the world’s commercial volume. Yet, Turkish shipowners are still ship owners, meaning they manage their ships from their offices. There are surely lots of deficiencies, but the boutique shipowner model is much better than the management system in which hundreds of ships are run but are not recognized. Turkish shipowners care for their ships and are integrated with them. This is their greatest advantage. I think it would have been better if there weren’t some legal issues.
What will be the impact of the Paris Climate Agreement on the world’s commercial fleet and therefore the economies of maritime countries?
The Paris Climate Agreement was widely discussed within the maritime sector. We discussed this in detail during our work with the Turkish Shipowners Association. As widely known, the first agreement is the Kyoto Protocol, which does not include maritime. The Paris Climate Agreement includes maritime as well. There is no need to get into details here. It is trying to force maritime to be handled using ships that do not have gas emission. Surely it has many valid reasons regarding the climate, yet in my opinion, as I’ve stated earlier, developed nations are trying to keep developing nations away from maritime. Since carbon emission will be reduced continuously, an A+ ship you have today may become a C in 5-7 years, or even a D, possibly making you subject to taxation.
Do you think organizations such as the ICS, INTERTANCO and BIMCO are doing their job as well as they should?
The law of the strong has always taken place in international organizations. When you look at it from the framework of power, it depends on where you view these organizations from. They act as walls for developing nations.
If you were to draft a maritime vision in Turkey, what would you say?
I do not need to say anything about Turkey’s vision. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has written that, it will be enough if we just implement it.
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