Esteemed Shareholders, Business Partners and Colleagues,
2019 was a period when the international landscape saw major challenges. The European Union faced an existential crisis due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Our neighbor Syria faced humanitarian issues arising from the civil war. Despite the Astana and Sochi processes, the Syrian regime forced hundreds of thousands of people to migrate to areas near our border, especially with military operations and air bombings against Idlib. The USA increased its pressure on Iran. In Libya, the civil war continues despite all reconciliation efforts. The truth behind climate change became undeniable in 2019 The fires that continued for weeks in the Amazon, which is the “lungs of the planet”, destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of forestland in the region. The fear of recession that emerged in developed countries has turned into economic and social dislocations caused by the rapid spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, which emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
Turkey’s economy was in the process of “rebalancing” in 2019. 2019 was a year when the high funding rates and inflation, which were the byproducts of the exchange rate shock of 2018, dropped significantly. While the coronavirus pandemic, which affects our country and the world at large, introduces new problems to both production and employment, it now has the potential to hamper Turkey’s progress towards its 2020 growth targets. All forecasts point to an average shrinkage of 5% in world economy by 2020. However, considering the fact that our economy has entered a revival process, we think that we have the opportunity to overcome this global crisis with the least damage. In this period, we will talk more about climate change and green financial products than ever before.
We celebrated the 60th anniversary of Doğan Group in 2019. With a proud 60-year-long history of contributing to Turkey's economy with our investments in different fields, we continue to do better as we take promising steps extending into the future.
Throughout 2019, we focused on boosting our efficiency and profitability by investing in our existing businesses in the industries where we operate, thus further consolidating our strength. We completed the dividend distribution in 1Q19. Marked by the establishments of new companies, new partnerships and new investment plans, 2019 was a good year for us.
While contributing to the national economy, we continued to create long-term projects and engage in collaborations in the fields of education, culture-arts, healthcare and environment in line with our philosophy of providing sustainable benefits and adding value to the world, our country and its people. We continued to work on the issues of gender equality, education, investing in an inclusive society, anti-polarization and sustainability in both Turkey and the international platforms we participated in.
Doğan Group has set a similar agenda of priorities for 2020, however, this global pandemic shows that humanitarian crises have never been this relevant since the time of the great wars. As the human race, we will once again emerge victorious from this predicament by leveraging labor force and cooperation, which is our most prized virtue.
To this end, we further accelerate our efforts for a value-oriented society and a sustainable world. We have created the “Doğan Impact Plan” that focuses on the areas of “investing in our planet”, “investing in an inclusive society” and “investing in the future”, with each impact area serving UN development goals. We integrated this plan into the business processes of all our companies.
At Doğan Group, we have prioritized two issues since the beginning of the outbreak: The health of our employees and the wellbeing of our society. Having designed all our operations accordingly, we continue our efforts with the measures we take in cooperation with the Covid-19 Crisis committee by prioritizing the health of all our employees.
At Doğan Group, we have been involved in many aid projects in order to support our country and give a helping hand to our society in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of the National Solidarity Campaign initiated under the leadership of our President, we have donated cash and healthcare supplies, food packages, gasoline, and allocated vehicles in collaboration with Doğan Holding, Aydın Doğan Foundation, our group companies Aytemiz, Doğan Burda Magazine, Suzuki, and our family investments Hepsiburada and nesine.com, totaling TRY 12 Million in donations.
At Doğan Holding, we believe that our country, its people and our group will leave this challenging period behind thanks to our common values of trust, love and solidarity that make us who we are and keep us united, and that companies which put their employees first and integrate social benefit into their strategies will also emerge strong from this crisis.
Drawing on our innovative ideas and our passion for our work, we will further our efforts to add value to our country and society in 2020.
Y. Begümhan DOĞAN FARALYALI