We had a special interview with Mark Meirowitz, Attorney at Law, to talk about his interest with Turkish politics and culture and his involvement with TACCI. Along our conversation Mr. Meirowitz shared his insights with us on Turkish business environment and TACCI's efforts to connect Turkish and American businesses.
1. You obtained your Ph.D. degree in political science. However, you have been a lawyer over 30 years. How did you decide to pursue a career in corporate law?
I was interested in both law and political science. I am proud to say that I was able to complete the doctorate in Politics (my dissertation was on international law) and also become a business lawyer (and have practiced corporate law for over 32 years). As a corporate lawyer, I have worked on all aspects of business transactions, both in the US and internationally (related to many countries around the world, including Turkey). My practice has involved all aspects of business law, including business contracts, buying and selling of businesses, business disputes, establishing businesses and setting up corporate entities, trademarks and intellectual property issues (including art and photography law), commercial real estate, business law advice and being outsourced to companies that do not have their own attorney on staff. I became interested in corporate law when I became a corporate attorney right out of law school (where I graduated second in the class and was an editor on the Law Review) at a top New York law firm, and had the opportunity to work on major business transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, private placements, complex corporate transactions and art and photography law. During my career, I also was general counsel of a national company, where I was responsible for the whole array of legal work including corporate transactions, franchising and health law issues as well as negotiating leases for 100 offices and all types of business contracts.
2. Mr. Meirowitz, you have publications on Turkish foreign policy and you are a member of a Turkish non-profit organization. How did you develop interest in Turkey in the first place?
My interest in Turkey began with a graduate paper on the Cyprus issue that I wrote during my graduate studies for the doctorate in Politics. After that, I started studying Turkish. I began to focus extensively on Turkey, its history and politics – and became enthusiastic about Turkey and Turkish culture – which led to a deep admiration for Turkey. I have written articles on business issues, as well as Turkish-US relations and Turkish foreign policy, for journals and publications in Turkey. I have also had the privilege of teaching at a Turkish University, having been awarded a fellowship to teach at Istanbul Technical University for three weeks in July, 2012 (I taught English conversation to Turkish professors – which was a wonderful experience). I have also served on panels as moderator and presenter dealing with Turkish foreign policy and Turkish-US Relations.
3. You have been a TACCI member since 2008, how did you get involved with TACCI?
A business acquaintance told me about TACCI and I began to attend events. I have had the huge privilege of serving on the TACCI Board for a number of years, and hope to continue my association with the TACCI Board for many years to come. I have also had the opportunity to do presentations for TACCI on avoiding risk in commercial transactions and on business negotiations.
4. You have close relations with many Turkish people and you are familiar with Turkey after taking few trips to there. Do you see this also as an advantage to do business with Turkish firms?
I find this to be a huge advantage. I believe that I offer Turkish and Turkish American businesses a unique combination of excellent legal skills combined with a deep knowledge and appreciation of Turkish culture and ways of doing business.
5. After visiting Turkey several times, what is your personal impression on the business environment in Turkey?
Very impressive. The Turkish economy is booming and the sky is the limit. The TACCI Board regularly has visits from businesses and chambers of commerce in Turkey. I find these meetings to be exciting and indicative of the vibrant Turkish economy which is going forward at a fantastic pace!
6. Turkish investors and entrepreneurs are interested in the US market more than before with the new incentive packages and increasing know-how. What are your suggestions for new investors and entrepreneurs taking their businesses to US what can you suggest as an experienced lawyer?
I would suggest that Turkish businesses seeking to do business in the US consult an attorney in advance of taking their business to the US, in order to identify potential issues – and solve any such issues. Of course, having an attorney thereafter, while doing business in the US, is also essential. Being proactive is vitally important and will eliminate problems in advance. The other point is that the US business and legal environment (especially with its regulations and procedures) is very different from the business and legal environment in Turkey. It is essential for Turkish businesses to be sensitive to such differences.
7. What are the difficulties that Turkish companies face while they are doing business in US?
Many Turkish businesses are unfamiliar with the regulatory and legal environment in the USA. The manner of doing business in the US is quite different, for example, from how business is conducted in Turkey. Understanding these subtleties and complexities can be very advantageous to Turkish businesses seeking to enter the US market (and to succeed in the US). This is where I believe an experienced American lawyer (with a good understanding of Turkey) can provide very effective advice and guidance.
8. As a devoted member of the TACCI board what would you like to say about TACCI’s role between Turkey and US?
TACCI’s role between Turkey and the US is pivotal, serving as a bridge between Turkish and American businesses. Through TACCI, Turkish businesses can gain important and essential information and contacts in the US. TACCI has become the “go to” organization for Turkish organizations seeking to do business in the US.
9. Is there anything you would like to say to TACCI members?
First and foremost, spread the word about TACCI to your business contacts and urge them to join.
Also, I wanted to express my personal thanks to, and admiration for, Celal Secilmis, our TACCI President, and for Sevil Ozisik, our past TACCI president (and current Vice President), for all they have done to build TACCI into the effective and exciting organization it is now. Through their efforts, TACCI is now a major player in Turkish-US business relations.
Thank you for your time and your support for TACCI!