The current Chairman of the Bilderberg Meetings, the French financier Henri de Castries, is a great friend of Turkey. This friendship is reflected in his involvement in the Institut du Bosphore — a French-Turkish think-tank created in 2009 at the initiative of TÜSIAD (the Turkish Industry & Business Association) and advertising giant Euro RSCG (now part of Havas Worldwide).
In fact, De Castries was part of the select group who announced the launch of the Institute, on September 8th, 2009. And over the years he’s been a speaker at a number of conferences and events held by the Institute.
The aim of the Institute, according to its website, is to provide “a space for exchange and debate” in order “to strengthen ties between France and Turkey” and “to contribute and shape public policies both in France and Turkey.” The mission statement continues:
It debates topics such as global politics, economy, social and cultural issues with a view to highlighting Turkey’s involvement in global society and in particular its close ties with the European Union and France. The Institut du Bosphore is an independent organization bringing together high-level Turkish and French personalities from various backgrounds including politicians, businessmen, economists, experts and intellectuals.
At the heart of the Institute is its Scientific Committee, which meets up to twice a year in Paris to discuss current issues concerning France-Turkey-EU relations. Henri de Castries was the founding president of the Scientific Committee — as the Institute website explains:
Since the Scientific Committee’s establishment in 2009, the co-presidency had been held by Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO of AXA Management Board, until the end of 2013 and four-time Bilderberg attendee Kemal Derviş*, Vice-President of Brookings Institution and Advisor to the Sabancı University, until the end of 2015.
At a ceremony in Istanbul in 2014, Henri de Castries was awarded TÜSIAD’s “Bosphorus Prize” for the year 2012, in recognition of his contribution to “the consolidation of the links between Turkey and France”.
Amongst other things, De Castries was praised for being President of the Organizing Committee of “La Saison de la Turquie en France”, a cultural event that was celebrated in France between July 2009 and March 2010.
According to the official brochure for La Saison de la Turquie en France:
A delegation of French entrepreneurs, conducted by Henri de Castries, Chairman of the AXA Group Executive Board and President of the Season of Turkey in France, visited Ankara and Istanbul in July 2009, in order to study the means of increase cooperation between companies in both countries. This visit was an opportunity for high level meetings with Turkish politicians.
To this day, Castries and Dervis remain members of the Institut du Bosphore’s Scientific Committee, alongside the former French representative in the Bilderberg Group, Thierry de Montbrial, and several former participants in the Bilderberg Conferences. Among them: Alexandre Adler, Ümit Nazli Boyner, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Alain Juppé, Anne Lauvergeon, Pierre Lellouche, Gérard Mestrallet et Soli Özel.
The institute’s Scientific Committee also included former Bilderberg insider, the late Mustafa Koç, during the last years of his life. His brother, Ömer M. Koç, who replaced him on Bilderberg’s Steering Committee, is a Vice President of TÜSIAD’s High Advisory Council.
* Kemal Dervis attended Bilderberg Meetings in 2002, 04, 06 and ’07. In 2005, he was expected to lead Turkey’s EU membership negotiations, before being elected UNDP Administrator. He was then be replaced by another regular at the Bilderberg Conferences, Ali Babacan.