“Whatever the result of the elections, we will continue working vigorously,” a young entrepreneur told me during a visit to his plant.
Just as we have now left behind the referendum, which showed us one more time how divided the society is, the statement of this young entrepreneur is perhaps enough to be hopeful for the future.
His name is Murat Öztürk. He was born in Germany. His father was one of the first Turks who left to work in Germany.
After his initial education in Germany, Öztürk later went to Switzerland to work in the fragrances sector. He then came back to Turkey as a distributor of the company he worked for in Switzerland. When business went well he proposed to the Swiss to jointly construct a plant, but could not get a positive answer.
As a result, he decided to invest by himself, and the Seluz Fragrance Company had in 10 years become one of the fastest growing fragrance companies in the world.
Their annual income is 30 million dollars and they registered a growth of 45 percent in exports, while recorded a 20 percent growth in the domestic market.
In the course of the next decade, Öztürk targets to put his company among the biggest 10 fragrance companies in the world.
In fact, he seems to have laid his hands on a sector that has not seen proper interest.
With its 150-year history in Europe, the fragrance industry is not a developed sector in Turkey, although spices and scents were largely important in the Ottoman times.
“There is no education for perfumers in Turkey. We are now training the country’s first perfumer by providing the necessary education,” said Öztürk.
Mete Apaydın is another person bringing vision to his sector. He is an entrepreneur living in Finike, near the southern province of Antalya. A child of a family who owned a citrus grove, Apaydın came back to his hometown to become a farmer after completing his education in Istanbul.
He chose agriculture instead of becoming a white-collar worker in a big city.
“I came back to my family’s lands when I was 24. I did not know what to do to increase production nor what to do to sell the products,” he told me. He started by developing an agricultural model. By investing in “good agriculture” and technology, the 500 tons of oranges produced annually when he started was multiplied by three at the end of nine years.
But his success undoubtedly came from the sale of his products for the first time on the internet.
“portakalbahcem.com,” meaning “my citrus grove” in Turkish, is a success story that has attracted the attention of Facebook.
The sale over the internet has registered a 250 percent growth in 2016.
Some 160,000 packages were delivered to houses. The website has already won several awards. Some 10 out of 100 visitors make a purchase. Facebook, which had seen the success in the number of the site’s hits, wanted to meet them, Apaydın proudly said.