` Turkey Opposes Extending Barjol's Contract

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Turkey Opposes Extending Barjol's Contract

Nov. 13, 2014
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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İsm­ail Kalen­der, head of the Turk­ish del­e­ga­tion to the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil

Turkey has objected to a pro­posal to extend the con­tract of the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil (IOC) exec­u­tive direc­tor, Jean-Louis Bar­jol and other senior offi­cials, on the grounds that it would dis­re­gard the Coun­cil’s insti­tu­tional expe­ri­ence of over­com­ing prob­lems.“

In a let­ter to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, İsm­ail Kalen­der, gen­eral man­ager of coop­er­a­tive affairs for the Cus­toms and Trade Min­istry and head of the Turk­ish del­e­ga­tion to the IOC, wrote, I am of the opin­ion that insti­tu­tional struc­ture takes prece­dence of indi­vid­u­als and per­sonal point of views.”

An under­sec­re­tary of the Turk­ish trade min­istry, Neşet AKKOÇ, is the cur­rent IOC chair.

The treaty gov­ern­ing the IOC runs out next month and con­fi­den­tial nego­ti­a­tions are under­way to draft a new char­ter. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is nego­ti­at­ing the new treaty on behalf of the EU, which is an IOC mem­ber.

The Com­mis­sion asked the IOC Coun­cil of Mem­bers for a 12-month exten­sion of the 2005 agree­ment because progress is such that it is now cer­tain that the dead­line of 31 Decem­ber 2014 for the con­clu­sion of an agree­ment can­not be met.” The IOC Coun­cil of Mem­bers can pro­long the agree­ment for up to two, 24-month peri­ods.

Jean-Louis Bar­jol

In his let­ter, Kalen­der objects to the inter­link­ing” of extend­ing the treaty with the exten­sion of the tenure of senior offi­cials, includ­ing the exec­u­tive direc­tor.

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Kalen­der also said Bar­jol usurped the pow­ers of the Coun­cil,” and made an ille­gal trans­ac­tion” con­trary to three deci­sions by the IOC and its com­mit­tees on staffing pro­ce­dures cited in the let­ter. The essen­tial issue for ensur­ing the con­tin­u­ance of the cor­po­rate struc­ture in a sta­ble man­ner is trust and hon­esty,” Kalen­der wrote.

Bar­jol’s four years at the IOC has been a period of major chal­lenges in the sec­tor. His early cam­paign pledge to engage the United States, even wel­come it as an IOC mem­ber, was never to mate­ri­al­ize. On the con­trary, efforts by bur­geon­ing Amer­i­can pro­duc­ers, and their like-minded mates in Aus­tralia, have had the intended effect of mar­gin­al­iz­ing the inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion at every turn.

Despite a steady stream of sci­ence sup­port­ing the unri­valed health ben­e­fits of olive oil con­sump­tion and the emerg­ing wealth in huge mar­kets like Rus­sia, India and China, global olive oil con­sump­tion is lower now than when Bar­jol took office, fail­ing even to show a gain with pop­u­la­tion growth over the term.

The low point in the Bar­jol admin­is­tra­tion might have been early 2013, when the orga­ni­za­tion’s bud­get impasse required it to oper­ate in a state of limbo that pre­vented Bar­jol’s travel to rep­re­sent the sec­tor at a key Codex meet­ing.

High-pro­file exposés such as Tom Mueller’s Extra Vir­gin­ity, a crit­i­cal report by the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis and a New York Times info­graphic have pro­ceeded to slam the rep­u­ta­tion of olive oil in gen­eral and con­found con­sumers, while well-funded cam­paigns by seed oil pro­duc­ers gladly took advan­tage of indus­try infight­ing.

In an indi­ca­tion of how lit­tle good news there has been dur­ing his tenure, Bar­jol launched an effort in late 2012 to fos­ter pos­i­tive writ­ing by jour­nal­ists about the olive indus­try,” by offer­ing €5,000 for the best arti­cle pro­mot­ing the desire to dis­cover and enjoy olive oil and table olives” — only to can­cel the con­test after the dead­line due to the lack of entries.

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