Turgay Ciner is the biggest miner of Turkey. He is one of the biggest two players of the media. He is entering 2006 with new investments and new steps. He will transform the coal extracted in Cudi into petroleum. He sold the mine he will extract in Siirt to Arcelor in advance. These mines will affect destiny of the Southeast. 2006 will be year of Kanal 1 in the media, this channel will broadcast World Cup.
INTERVIEW: BARIŞ SOYDAN
Story of success of Turgay Ciner is suitable for universal entrepreneurial mito. He has been doing commercial business as of seven and eight years old. He had million dollars when he was 24 years old and billion dollars when he was mid-40’s. It is important that he booms in mid-20’s, but pages of economy magazines are full of histories of the fortunes that are obtained at early ages and fortunes that are lost at early ages. The main success of Ciner is not his single triumph, he made his rise as "sustainable". Thus, the matter is not that Ciner purchased Sabah in 2005 and he succeeded Havaş privatization in 1995. It seems that his main success is that he overcame two crises (1994 and 2001) affecting Turkey seriously and causing that many “legends” go bankrupt and that he could survive for about 30 years in stormy waters of Turkey. He knows how to proceed under all conditions and terms. This refers to common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and orientation skill. (He emphasizes this characteristic from time to time in conversation he made with Turkishtime.)
It is possible to read the interview that Turkishtime made with Ciner as a “classical” entrepreneur story. But without doubt, pages advancing with different lessons for mine Companies and different lessons for media employees…
Turkishtime: You made a press meeting at the end of last year and explained that endorsement regarding the end of 2004 of Ciner Group as 1,4 billion dollars. What will be endorsement of the group this year?
Turgay Ciner: It will be 2 billion dollars. But I made a merger with Aytemiz apart from normal growth. Or else, there is no growth of 35 percent. If we grow over growth rate of the country we will be satisfied. If the country grows five times and we grow ten times, we consider ourselves as successful.
Thus, since the economy slows down a little when compared with past years…
I do not agree with this. I did not slow down, why it slows down. How the economy slows down in a country having export of 120 billion dollars and import of 70 billion dollars? I do not understand this, the economists say different things… And who does these works? It means that the men who will motivate the export of 120 billion dollars and import of 70 billion dollars do such a business.
It is easy to lay down the law. There are people increasing these figures here. All these people chase for hope in a business world. Our export in 1981 was 2 billion dollars. Our import was 3 billion dollars, and 2,5 billion dollars of it was for petroleum invoices. Let’s say, if you increase your import 40 times and your export 35 times after 24 years, this is very big success. Of course, it is easy to make comments with the figures. Comments should be made with rates. That is economy. You grow with rates.
One of the reasons why Turkish economy is dynamic is vitality of investment environment. You anticipate big investments about the mining. We do not anticipate, we make.
Did production in trona mine in Beypazarı start?
Mining activities are carried out. Mining investments last for very long times. They last four years because geography is struggled. It is not like factory investment. It is not like “Give it to architect let him/her draw and lay foundation”. It is difficult to move under the ground. But this proceeds successfully.
You made sample production last year.
We tried it. And now we are enlarging its scale. Currently, 300 Chinese people are working. We have engineer, worker, personnel, special master of this work, they are Chinese. They made this work. They fell from the minaret.
And you will start exporting after extracting mine. Will you sell to European market? What is your target?
Trona is being used in many places, it is the material that can be used in everywhere that come to your mind. In case export is concentrated, export. In case domestic market is profitable, domestic market. We will determine according to demand. We will not show heroism because we are making it for the export, we will make it for the profit. This year, Turkey is growing in mining, and I think it had a growth of around 15 – 20 percent. There is an increase also in export.
Natural stone lead in mine export in the recent years, did not it? What do you think about the export?
The mine does not go well. Policies applied in the mining prevent the sector. The mining in Turkey is subject to extra taxes. In other words, they pay more taxes than any shopping center and joint-stock Companies pay. Everyone wants share. 95 percent of the mine fields belong to the state, and no one is allowed to enter these fields. There is a silly and romantic thought that the state should export mine. The mining in Turkey is prevented.
Does not it change?
It does not change. A law numbered 3883 had been introduced in 1983 or 84 in Özal period, and the mining was liberated. Last year, mine law was changed. They took back liberties allowed by Özal.
Are there some strategic considerations?
May it be strategic mine? What can it be strategically? Strategic thing is deployment of soldiers and weapons they have. Is there any strategy of mine? Look, the state withdrew from cement sector. The state withdrew from ceramic sector, and the state withdrew from glass sector. The state withdrew from marble sector. Turkey is among 10 largest producer countries of the world in four factors basing on soil. Let’s count, cement, ceramic, glass and marble. The state had all of them. The state withdrew and Turkey took place among the largest 10 producers of the world.
Why Turkey is not included in other mines? Because the state has other mines. The state has ninety five percent of these fields and it does not give them.
Now, license tenders are on the agenda…
They are making license tenders. They are making them so that they play on non-existent fields, they are not making in existent fields. The share obtained by mining from the gross national product in mine countries reaches 10 – 11 percent. In other words, in case our gross national product reaches 400 billion dollars, we should have a mine endorsement of 40 billion dollars. Turkey is a country having mine variety. There is coal, copper, zinc, iron, gold and silver. Since no cadastre passes, their quality is not known.
You are the largest miner of Turkey. Do you think to be included within any activity for changing policies of Turkey in mining?
As much as I can, I am making by my mind. For instance, there are Eti enterprises established by Atatürk. They re-transformed Eti maden işletmeleri from commercial incorporated Company into state Company. I am not criticizing the bureaucrats working there. They are performing given transactions duly. They have been rendered service very much until today. There is such thing that hog ties. Today, 3 percent of Turkey is under license of Eti. 3 square meters of 100 square meters that we have are licensed to Eti maden işletmeleri in terms of mine license. There are hard coal enterprises, iron enterprises and many enterprises in Turkey. One of them has 3 percent. The mine exists in third or five percent of a small land. Eti has mine license of an area of 19 square kilometers. A country with around 700 thousand square kilometers. This rate corresponds to 2,5- 3 percent.
Mine license has much investment power. I can demolish superstructure in a place where mine license was obtained and extract mine. This is the model coming from world examples. If you find the richest oil fields of the world in Kızılay, Ankara will move.
They do not transfer them, but they do not operate themselves either…
It is not possible to operate such a big field. It is not economical. Even Rockefeller cannot operate it. We are mentioning a country having size of 19 thousand square kilometers. The mining has an advantage. You should establish a plant from which mine is extracted. Thus, that mine has benefit for region people. It provides regional employment. The mine is the most important thing that will provide regional employment. It is the production basing on mine. Now, for instance we are opening a copper mine in Siirt. We cannot take the soil in Siirt and bring it to Diyarbakır. We are establishing the plant in mine head. We are not establishing it even in Siirt but in field of Siirt town. We are employing local employees. When you go there, you bring education, bring quality and also bring life standard.
Have you ever been in Beypazarı?
After we went to Beypazarı, Çayırhan, a city such as Beypazarı occurred in Turkey. We made different contributions in Beypazarı. While 2 thousand 500 and 3 thousand people came to Beypazarı in the past per year, now 30 thousand people come at the weekends. Beypazarı sells goods to Ankara, Istanbul, Eskişehir and Zonguldak. Thus, income of Beypazarı has risen four and fivefold. We bring contribution to places we go, and we bring movement. Everyone should live in a place they were born, and everyone wants to live in a place they were born.
You have mine in mountainside of Cudi Mountain in addition to Siirt…
We are operating asphaltite coal there.
Did mining start?
It has not started yet. These works are not managed easily, for this reason few investment is made for the mining. Since investment process is very long, strong Companies that will carry financing should enter.
Is this the main problem?
No, this is not the main problem. The main problem is that licenses are distributed by the state illiberally. Of course background information is necessary.
You love mining and most likely you define yourself as mining….
Yes, I define myself something like it because I perceive it as a work made by the men.
The state does not allow private sector in boron.
Size of the entire world market is 1,5 billion dollars in boron. Even women sock sector has size of 1,5 billion dollars. The state produces boron and exports it because it is very strategic. If this is opened to private sector, boron extracted in Balıkesir is given to people of Balıkesir, in Eskişehir to people of Eskişehir, in Konya to people of Konya… Some produces three kilos, some five kilos and some produces 500 kilos. Boron is not placed in bag and brought. You invest such VAT while importing, you will invest VAT in boron while making import.
Besides, for instance there is gold in line of boron. But it is boron, so the state does not open it to private sector. The borons stay there, and there is gold next to it, it stays there too, there is silver, its stays there too.
When the gold is brought up the subject, you said that it is not profitable because they are distributed very much…
Yes, they are distributed so much and thus it is not profitable because you have five square meters and it has the license of mine of 10 square meters and the other has 7 square meters of the mine… And no cadastre has been made. Mining statements in Turkey are nonsense. Like treasure hunting. There is mining here, but there is not here. You will visit and examine the country meter by meter to make a mine cadastre... Eighty percent of it was not made in Turkey. Whatever you will say for it, it is up too high.
Look, BP found petroleum offshore of eight kilometers of Hopa. It will explain this most likely. They made an investment of around 100 million dollars and set up platform. Now, there is coal offshore of Zonguldak. There is gas in a place where there is coal, the gas will come off. Coal produces gas. It produces coal gas. It will produce gas, you will see. The thing we say as natural gas is the coal gas.
Natural stone mining became an increasing trend in Turkey. Do you have any investment in marble?
We are engaging in mining that necessitates an industrial process. We prefer buying and operating mine. If we extract coal, we generate electricity from the coal. We will produce petroleum from the coal. We are bringing a new method to Turkey.
Where will you make?
In Silopi, we are planning this year. We will make petroleum production in next year. We will produce petroleum with high technology in Gaziantep. I will produce petroleum, we will use the remaining coal in cement factories and thermal power plants, in other words, coal will not disappear. We will produce liquid petroleum having high gravity.
I suppose this news was not punished in Sabah newspaper?
I do not talk anything about my business in the relevant newspaper. I am penny pincher about this subject just like the state is penny pincher in mining.
Which strategies should be followed to develop mining?
If the biggest problem in Turkey is unemployment, extra taxes on the mining should be removed. I do not say that they give incentive for the mining, we should not take the easy way out.
You should give an extra tax to the municipality in a place where mine is extracted, it was normally about 15 percent. Now, I do not know how much it is with the new law but we paid 15 percent surplus from the amount that normal Companies pay.
Now look, we are making a study in a field called as Şirvan in Madenköy, you will see that region will be the most developed region of Siirt within five years. Children will receive better education, we started to build a school when we went there. The doctor came and we built a health center, x-ray machine was brought.
There is no big group that makes other investments there…
There is no big group, big groups do not take a trip properly. They are making speeches from the edge of Bosphorus. Places that big groups love in Turkey are Izmit, Adapazarı and Eskişehir. Big groups do not take a trip to places where we make investment.
Is not there any safety problem there?
There is. But we do not have any approach that we will not make investment in our country because of the fact that there is a safety problem. Social aspect gained a little weight. But those mentioned as big groups do not take trips to Siirt.
There is very close relation between mining in Turkey. Turkey is also energy importer. Which policies should be followed on this subject?
We do not import energy substances. We import the electricity under the name of energy substance. In other words, Turkey imports about sixty and seventy percent of the electricity generation. It does not import in the form of electricity. It imports in the form of natural gas. Natural gas does not create employment while transforming it into electricity. Contribution of the economy formed by the electricity generated from the natural gas to Turkey is minus.
Notwithstanding, why is natural gas used in Turkish electricity generation?
Natural gas producers are the biggest Companies of the world. It is natural to manipulate a country because there are billions dollars of used gas. They say to people that we import natural gas of five billion dollars. You do not import the natural has of five billion dollars. You import five billion dollars multiplied by year. You will import as much as human live. That is to say, hundred billion dollars. Turkish people will work and produce money, while this money is transferred from Ahmet to Hasan and from Hasan to Mehmet, this money will reach to Russia. There are “Seven sisters” petroleum Companies behind the Russian tariff. There are BP, Shell, Chevron, Exxon, and Standard Oil. The Russians do not com at random by their own.
Then again, more expensive.
Very more expensive.
There is confusion in energy. On the one hand, there are people saying that “a medium-term energy crisis is waiting you, and you should pass to nuclear as immediate as possible.
Now, 42 percent of Turkish electricity generation is covered by the natural gas. Efficiency of the natural gas power plants is 98 percent and of coal power plants is 85 percent. It was increased to 95 and 97 percent with the technology that has been recently made. We are the only country having electrical generation capacity from the natural gas of 40 percent in the world and generating electricity at the rates of 60 – 70 percent. They pushed Turkey to such drunkenness. I am tired of repeating for 15 years. Turkey is a coal country, today take the pickaxe and lash it in Keşan, youwill find lignite. Come from Keşan, Saray, Niğde… You will find lignite in everywhere. You will find it in Istanbul. If we excavate here in Istanbul, you will find it. All pits located in the north of Istanbul are lignite pits. Go from there, Bolu, Göynük, Beypazarı, Manisa Gediz, Konya, Maraş, Adana, Siirt, Silopi, all of them are full with coal. What the investment you made in coal will bring? Firstly, it will bring an employment. Secondly, money will pass from Hasan to Hüseyin. That is to say, it has no cost for the state. When Turkey makes its own electrical generation from its shareholders equities, the cost is zero because if it does not produce it, it should give money to public there for any way. As we did in the Southeast today, you know that money is given to foresters there. Whereas, if employment is created, the foresters will work too. And they will receive tax.
The electricity is generated from the coal by 98 percent in Poland. People say that coal intoxicates around. Poland is a very green country. Have you ever seen a yellowish garden in Germany? 50 percent of the electricity is generated from the coal in Germany. Why does not it get dark? 56 percent of the electricity in America is generated from the coal. Is not there any technology in America?
I will say funnier thing, from where we purchase gas? We purchase it from Russia. Sixty percent of the electrical generation of Russia is from the coal, from the nuclear and from hydraulics. The natural gas ranks four.
Calorie of a natural gas is 8 thousand and 800 kilos. The cost of producing 8 thousand and 800 kilos from the natural gas is 330 dollars. And there is coal too. Calory of coal in Turkey is low. It has calorie of 2 thousand kilos. Maximum value of the calorie of coal of 2 thousand kilos in Turkey is 5 dollars. You should burn 4,5 tons of coal to reach 8 thousand calories. It is 22,5 dollars from 5 dollars. If energy of 300 dollars is local, the coal price is 300 dollars, and natural gas price is 22 dollars, again I prefer coal. After all, this is the money you give to your public, this does not go abroad. This is totally apposite here!
I suppose that they know this in Ankara… Some contracts tie our hands, do not they?
Our NGO’s were wandering in the streets by saying ”Oh natural gas”. They were saying that “The coal pollute around”. This statement is one of the allies of the life in slums. I do not say themselves, that is to say, those making a lot of noise regarding environment is one of the factors of life, that is to say, poverty, terrorism and lack of education in the slums because if you give 10 – 15 billion dollars outside per year, this slum remains as slum. If you give 10 -15 billion dollars inside per year, those slums get better, this is that simple.
Energy measurement is calorie. You obtain foreigner calorie in the amount of 300 liras and local calorie in the amount of 20 liras. But you provide employment in local calorie of 20 liras, and money remains you, you take tax. Let’s give an example. I operate power plant of 620 megawatts in Çayırhan. I employ 2 thousand and 400 people. I give to Ankara industrial zone, different places in Istanbul, iron smiths, copper smiths, riggers, plumbers, shippers, restaurateurs and thousands of people. The number of employees working in a natural gas power plant is 9 with the same scale. In any one, vehicles will go and food will come, pipes will be broken and repaired… We are the second private sector Company paying most tax in Ankara corporately. But money produced in a natural gas power plant with the same scale is collected from the Turkish public, goes to the bank abroad. Mine goes to Denizbank, İş Bankası, Yapı Kredi and Ostim, it also goes to shipyard market, to restaurateur, saloon keeper and shoe makers.
It is said that renewable energy resources such as wind and sun should be featured against the global warming.
The sun is suitable, but you cannot obtain energy with wind because energy has continuity. The wind blows and stops. You should produce energy continuously. The wind blew and generator was activated. The wind stopped. What will you do?
If 30 - 40 thermal power plants to be established in Turkey and power plants burning coal or other fossil fuels will provide global warming in the world, let them provide it. Our 70 millions of people will live comfortably at the very least.
You do business of distributing petroleum, which is one of the sectors where competition became stronger, with the partnership you made with Aytemiz. You have opponent Doğan group in media with Opet, even with Tüpraş, Koç and Petrol Ofisi. You said that dealer number of Aytemiz reached 800 this year, did it reach?
Aytemiz family is really proper Company, we became 50 – 50 partner with this request and our wish. But management and policies of the Company totally belongs to Aytemiz family. This is the policy we developed for the last three and four years. We will continue to purchase Companies of expert people who proved themselves in their field. While purchasing, we will be sometimes small, sometimes big and sometimes equal, and we will apply a system that the owners will have management without having importance on partnership rates. That is to say, I prefer that founders of that work remain as partner and professionals rather than growing with too many professional staff.
How do you make contribution?
Of course, we provide financing differently. We add our vision.
But in manner, there is “core business” for you, that is to say, there are some works to which you attach importance. You do not agree with fast-growing for all works. For instance, you had said that you would leave tourism.
We left tourism, left textile. We have a textile factory Ceytaş in Adana, we operate it by social responsibility. If we close it, we will do wrong to the town it is located. Social responsibility is among duties of an investor, and those working in that factory and union supported me very much back in the days, thus I pay my debt to them.
Do you export there?
Domestic market and export change. Wherever the balances go. The work we will do is the mining basing on energy. We will grow as much as we can grow in professional mining and media.
Will you do business of distributing energy?
We want to take one region in energy distribution work. I do not know whether we will be able to take or not.
Is media or mining difficult?
Since I am positive, there is nothing difficult. The meaning of difficult in the Central Asia is good. When you say in the Central Asia whether mining or media is difficult, you say that whether media or mining is good.
I look positively in the life. I thank God because I live. The life was presented by the God for people. Good and bad lives are relative. According to me, my life is good and for others, my life is bad. There is no condition that people are happy with the money they have with their authority and I know many people they were happy by looking to life from other aspects. I look positively to the life and human. When something happens, I am not sorry, I say “the damage is done” and look the new one.
But as it is seen from the outside, investment density in mining in 2004 – 2005 is more at the least…
We raised an institution that is about to disappear in the media. We did not purchase, we purchased a factor that we grew ourselves. So, we made double investment. We made an investment and enhanced, and purchased after enhancement. I am saying this between parentheses, we are in the position of stupid merchant.
You will endure a loss of 450 million dollars…
That is right, we made this for public conscience. I had no obligation legally. But I say public conscience, I am not saying public opinion. I made it because I was convinced that this work should be done in terms of public conscience. I did not make it for public opinion. I made it for public conscience.
Do you have any skeleton team? There is always very robust team next to such skillful people…. You are personally out of press although you are interested in press. Your team is out of it.
I have friends moving with me from the very beginning and establishment. They are continuing. For instance, I am a conservative person a little. Some of my values may be considered as conservative. I have been going to the same barber for 25 years, and the same driver has been working with me for 30 years, I do shopping from the same store. I go to the same restaurant. I have such conservatisms. 13 thousand people are working in our Company. Our management type is leader operation. That is to say, I do not believe in “institutionalism”. I have no logic, senses or dreams such as institutionalism.
Under Turkish conditions or generally?
People are important for me in the entire world. There should be absolutely definite procedures, but I find words such as “we will be corporate and organized” funny. I do not believe in institutionalism, I believe in leadership. There are leaders in my enterprises and Companies. Their number can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It was like this in the beginning, now it is. There are known names, chairmen, and they continue. It is not crowded group. That is to say, we have no radical organization such as “he is his/her consultant, he is chairman”. We have no procedure, my door is open. In the media, for instance everyone can enter my room with a snap.
Did you like media?
I like all the works via which I earn money.
There is a question that should be asked regarding institutionalization in terms of monthly economy magazine. Can we estimate that you do not work with management consultants?
Management consultancy Companies are silly. What are they doing? For instance, they take style of Rockefeller, edit, collect it into a book and quote it… Rockefeller would like wine, but your Company drinks whisky. One likes fishing, and the other likes going skiing. People, having different life perceptions, have also different Company management types. Otherwise, the God would create human similarly. People do not resemble physically, and they do not resemble spiritually either. While I wear 46 sizes, maybe they are trying to fit me 42 sizes, or maybe 52 sizes.
Of course, an arrangement is necessary for the Companies, I am not mentioning a management with jungle type. All organizations were produced from military organizations. They were reproduced from defense. The reason of making organization is defense. This is management foundation of the Companies. This has varieties. Face of people does not resemble, and they do not resemble spiritually either. Does management type of people not having similar spirit resemble?
Then, you say that we should talk about differences not similarities, you say shades…
Does Sezen Aksu want to sing like Ajda Pekkan? They both are singers, why do they sing differently? No one can say Ajda Pekkan to “sing like Sezen Aksu”. She cannot be like Ajda Pekkan, then there is no success.
You purchase Sabah in media and provide resource of 430 million dollars…
The amount of 430 million dollars is the last unit, I made payment to public beforehand.
There is very important different among human resources in media and human resources in mining. The mining is more concrete, it is a substantial work. There is more planned human resource. There is more speculative, intangible and invisible thing in the media. How do you manage these two human resources?
I am a happy person, I lean towards everything. I thank God to live. I may have been another Turgay, I may have been born in another country. Yes, one is mathematical work, the results are definite from the beginning. The other one has uncertainty. That is to say abstract, values are subjective, moving, the thing you said in the morning is destroyed in the afternoon, the thing you wrote in the afternoon gets better in the evening, very dynamic place having loose ground. My system there is that...
I respect everyone doing every business. Whatever business people do, I admire those doing good business. My friends in the media are really doing great business. I see their efforts. There are lots of laborers working there until the morning. I did works increasing employment instead of those decreasing employment there. And now, average prices in our group are very above the average prices in the media sector. I give importance to people. People should be happy wherever they work. Of course, we will have mistakes and fail to notice something. But since I give importance to people, I think that I corrected the mistakes that I saw. On the contrary, I hate lazy people. Laziness is not a thing that I can accept.
You had national channel and new newspaper projects, right?
Kanal 1 starts after the New Year. And we will make our best efforts to create our second national channel. Even, we will broadcast the World Cup from that channel. I want t o show importance we will attach to Kanal 1 with the World Cup. People will start to talk about Kanal 1 in Turkey, in 2006.
Will this channel have mainly news?
No, it will be a popular channel. Could I talk what I wanted to say a little while ago, I do not know. I respect working people. I admire those doing good businesses. Thus, I respect everyone working in media or mine and successful people, I act according to conditions. This shows that Turgay Ciner has high capacity of physiological orientation.
Media is a very difficult work for the bosses. People say dirty work for the media. Someone telephones, someone presses, you write something and it is destroyed, you write this and the other is destroyed. But you resisted all these, and adopted…
The business I do in the media is management. In other words, it is establishing skeleton of a Company and provide mobilization. I do not intervene in news occurring in news tables, I do not intervene in and the day I enter news rooms is limited. Apart from the rules in our constitution that are necessitated by morals, that our country in which we live has and all of us can accept… They are too little. If I accept to go into the army as the Republic of Turkey or accept that my son of 20 years old goes into the army and accept him to die in the military service, it means that I had done requirements of this country.
Apart from that, my friends have no idea about the businesses I do. I do not intervene in their works. They know that. The newspaper has a main line. I did not create this main line. Newspaper or newspapers had a spirit that was formed before me, and they are continuing in this way. When you respect business that people there do and you admire by seeing that they are doing good businesses, there is no problem. In case they do business wrongly, you intervene in. But all of my friends working in media in top management or low-level are working successfully now. We also brought movement to the media. We increased the number of 5 thousand sold news magazines to 150 – 200 thousand, and people started to read.
In your opinion, did media create its own reputation in Turkey? Is today’s Turkish media a good media? Or is there any justification regarding criticisms directed from outside?
We should respect all grounded criticisms. But many of the criticisms made in media in Turkey were put forward stuff and nonsense. They say that people enter media not for money but for power. Currently, there are two media groups in Turkey, Doğan Group having eighty percent of the market and us. When you open date of the Chamber of Industry, you can examine media Companies in terms of employment and profitability. This is a profitable sector. People doing this business without any profit are cheeky. They are temporary, they cannot survive.
With reference to contributions of the media. Today, four and a half, five million daily newspapers are sold. This figure is very high. If approximately five million daily newspapers are sold in a country having this rate of gross national product, this is over the figure that will be sufficient because if you think that five people read a newspaper, this means that 25 million people read newspaper in Turkey. This figure is sufficient. And contributions of the media to this country are obvious. Today, we are revealing mistakes and disturbances as far as possible. I want to say another thing. One of the important factors of increase of the number of people speaking Turkish in Turkey is televisions in Turkey.
Do you say this as part of the Southeast?
Yes, when people turned 40 there 25 years ago, they even could not learn Turkish. Today, children learn Turkish as of six or seven years old. Go and look, there is no children who cannot speak Turkish. But people could not speak Turkish even if they turned 40 or 50 in the past because there is nothing to speak Turkish. I think that media provided that people speak the same language and create an environment where violence decreases.
You say that media accelerated nation formation process in Turkey.
One of the main factors of nation formation and nationalization is language, as I know. One of the main concepts of the nation is language, flag. Can a nation speak French be a Turkish nation?
Is media quality?
Media is a relative concept. Media quality is proportional to public quality. Underdevelopment is a whole. Whatever quality rate of the public, I consider it quality at that rate.
Do you like Hürriyet?
Of course, I like Hürriyet, why do not I like it? Hürriyet is an important newspaper. People make efforts for all of them. If readers do not know to benefit from that, that is their fault.
Aydın Doğan had said in an interview he gave for our magazine that he will grow abroad on media area. Do you have any investment plan abroad?
I want to say something in parallel with what I said beforehand. The media has the same capacity with the capacity and power of the Companies in Turkey that will expand abroad. Media’s carrying out activity abroad is more difficult than other Companies’ activities. The source is culture. You should know that culture. Or you should select correct people from that culture. That is to say, it is more difficult than establishing a fridge factory. But if Mr. Aydın feels the power to do this, he can do it. If he does, we will like it.
Star TV tender was watched very closely in the public opinion. You exceeded 300 million dollars. As a conclusion, it remained in Doğan Group but occurring price was discussed. Is not 360 million dollars expensive?
The concepts of expensive and cheap are determined according to time. It is expensive when compared with 2001. It is cheaper when compared with 2010. The day you buy is not a shoe you wear. It is not a thing that you will throw after three days. We should look at this in this way. The amount of 306 million and 500 thousand dollars is more expensive when compared with 2001. But it is cheaper when compared with 2017. You will look accordingly. A person making investment there does not dream of becoming rich the next day. You will anticipate an organic growth. Two people suit to do this in Turkey. One is Doğan Group, the other one is us.
Also foreigners joined the tender…
I am very open-minded person. The foreigners and Turks should be balanced. It is not correct to get the edge over one side, or to break the competition for the benefit of Turks or foreigners. But sometimes conditions are broken for the benefit of foreigners, for instance they want to get the edge over the foreigners in electricity distributions. I think, this should be equal. I see that media is a delicate subject. We consider that foreigners have efficient position as a little dangerous. This is not correct in a country having average education of three and four years. In my opinion, this is not correct. This is beyond modernity.
Do foreigners come with partnership offer?
Yes, they come. There is no objection that the foreigners enter here. They enter. They purchase your shares when you open to public. We have license of Forbes. I say that they are dominant, that is to say, they make decision… For instance, they may be a partner equally to some extent at least. Currently, there are many foreigner partners in Doğan group. They may include in the Board of management. They are all natural things. I want to tell that there may be a D day within decision making process singularly. It is beneficial that there are human factors in that D day.
The media has a mediatic side in quotes. Fatih Altaylı transfer became a byword. Is there any new transfer on the agenda?
I never made transfer. I only transferred only two friends: Muharrem Sarıkay. I liked him from Ankara, I made offer only to him, and he thanked me, honored me. I have known Fatih Altaylı for more than 10 years. Fatih Altaylı is one of the good journalists who came to this country. He is one of the journalists having journalism perception. And everyone followed it. Even when he wrote critical letters about me, he was contacting with me. Even when Fatih Altaylı criticized me, I replied with respect. He stated those points between parentheses. I did not transfer Fatih Altaylı. He felt that he would be happy within restructuring of Doğan group. I had said him back in the days that “You would work with me one day”. And he said “Could we work together”. I said welcome. And I am happy that he works with me now. He is really an esteemed friend. I was happy with Fatih as much as I was happy with other friends. Within a short period. He is one of the people doing business ideally and about whom I admire. But there is no transfer. Doğan group transferred 10 people from us within our structuring process. It transferred by giving money. But I made no transfer offer to anyone and paid any price. I am saying this apart from Muharrem Sarıkaya. I transferred Muharrem Sarıkaya. And the price was friendship.
Mehmet Y. Yılmaz, who is former production director of Milliyet newspaper, came to Ciner group sometime. This subject was wondered very much. I am saying it, Mehmet Yılmaz is one of the best journalists in this country, and he proved himself. Deeds are fruits, words are leaves. He established newspaper in Turkey, and he established best seller newspaper. He is a good journalist. Still I think the same. I did not transfer Mehmet Yılmaz. Mehmet Yılmaz stated his problems during re- structuring of Doğan group and revealed his willingness to work with me. I want to work with good journalists, and I said come and work. But I think his status in Doğan group improved and said that I want to work in my former position. I did not say no. And this shows that I did not employ anyone by giving money or doing something. If Mehmet Yılmaz took money from me, he would not say take your money I am leaving. He thought next day that he would work there more comfortably. I still love Mehmet Yılmaz.
Were not you hurt?
Why I should be hurt. He did not punch me, he did not slap me, he said me that could I work with you. I said you can work with me because I prefer working with good journalists. And then he said I was better in my former position, he thought this. I said okay, work there. This does not mean that he will come three days after and will not work with me. All platforms provide place for people doing this business good. This is a fact, the remaining is a lie. That is to say, whoever does business good, he/she can work in opponent group and can also work for us.
Is the same thing is valid for Vatan?
I do not want to make any comment for Vatan. I do not address him. Sabah group is an industrial group, it has distributions, magazines, publishing houses, televisions and radios. The opponent group is Doğan group. I can make comment about Doğan Group. I make comment between the equal ones.
How do you consider Vatan regarding journalism? This is totally a personal question.
I do not want to make any comment for Vatan.
Do you have any target for airport tenders?
No. I made this move in 1998 – 99. Let’s say those moves were repelled. Turkey was not mentally ready for this those days. Since the vision that I determined was not accepted by the bureaucrats and politicians, they were repelled.
You had target to lead in domestic flights with Cross Air…
Yes, it was three waves system setting up flying systematic of Turkish Air Lines. We brought and set up it that time.
Do you worry? Because private aviation grew very much?
No. I am additionally priding. I saw this 10 years ago. And I wanted to do it. I could not do it, I am saying that I was repelled. I did it. I won airport tender, they did not give me tender, I won Petrol Ofisi, they did not give it to me, I set up domestic flights, they did not give me flight license. Cadi did not accept. I am happy to have this mission. I have no regret. Besides, my supportive relations with the Company operating air port in past aviation crisis are obvious. I never say I wish. If I live today, I thank the God.
We want to ask some private questions towards the end of interview? How is Turgay Ciner? Ca you evaluate businessman Turgay Ciner?
I am proud of all the works I made. I am a businessman who can develop in Turkey without having any moral, commercial and legal mistake. I did not lean on the politicians, I did not receive support of any group. I have no diet and debt of gratitude to anyone. There is no other businessman in Turkey who was examined and audited as much as me.
Are you angry with the opponent group from time to time when they criticize you?
No, I am not. I consider mistake as my own mistake because I have high –confidence, this had always negative effect for me. I did not give importance to public opinion because I was raised as actions speak louder than words. I did my own work, I did not give importance to PR. I am employing 13 thousand people. I take place among the first ten people of Turkey paying highest tax personally, sometimes I rank three, sometimes rank nine and sometimes ten. I take place among the first ten institutionally. I never entered chamber of commerce, and chamber of industry. I did not get involved in any social organization of TÜSİAD or MÜSİAD. I never appeared personally or as a family in social life and within popular life. Thus, I remained as an unsharp man. People are afraid of things they do not know, I did not consider it. I should have said people what I did, I am doing these things. But I did not care about people. People were afraid of the thing they do not know because I never introduced my works and take place in social life, and then they started to gossip when they were afraid. But this was my mistake. I am not angry with criticisms of the newspapers and journalists due to my mistake. But I do not say I wish I did not do it. Would I be such a successful man if I did it? Maybe there would be a problem. Maybe I would not be able to walk in the streets easily, I can walk now.
Am I successful now? If you examine between the years of 1981 – 2005... There is not much businessman standing.
And personally, how your life goes as a friend and family man apart from your business life?
I am a closed man, there is nothing significant. I have friends in the office, I am with them. There are not much people, I finish up work at ten – around ten. I consider time when I go to restaurant, I am saying this not for now before, as an idle time. I have not gone on a holiday yet. I am not saying these to boast. I am not saying these I wish I went on a holiday. I think that there should be more balance. I spent my private life for my job. I had no private life. I indexed my entire life to my work.
Do you like success very much? Is this your good manner?
I was acquainted with trade when I was seven or eight years old. When I was 24 years old, I had 1 million dollar. I had saving when I was 24 years old. They boast that “I went bankrupt, then I gathered strength”. I overcame two crises by growing. I am not a man saying that “Oh, the crisis occurred, works went bad, now works are good”. My incomes were consolidated in 22nd of July, of 2018. My receivable in 18th July, of 2018 is definite, this does not fall down, but if it increases it will not be surprise. This is not a prediction, but a hope.
I have no marketing manager. That is to say, this Company has no marketing department. I do not do marketing business. I will extract trona in 2007, and sell its 30 years. In other words, when trona is extracted in 2007, I will be sold to the market until 2037. For instance, we agreed with marketing manager of famous Arcelor Company for copper to be extracted in Siirt, goods of 15 years have been sold.
Last year, you had said that it was within the bounds of possibility to surpass Koç group. Do anticipations of 2018 show this, for instance will you grow four or five times?
I would become very big Company in 2018. You should motivate others when you assert a claim now. You should irritate others. I am not a person adopting principle of “being in the forefront and being in the backmost”. I should assert a claim that I will be the best, and this will trigger others. Or when I lock the store, if I spend my money freely, I cannot finish it. This is not my job. I have no dream to go to in the evening and to open Petrus wine. My job is to create more employment. I put a life target for myself. I will provide employment for 50 thousand people, I will build fifty schools. I started business life as one person. School number became 10. And it is going towards fifty, and this is a claim. A man not having any claim to leave a mark is a random man. I am not a man who wishes to have lots of money.
One of the speculations about you is that “This is the case of Turgay Ciner. There is such source behind Turgay Ciner, this is his case”…
The source behind me is, I am explaining it for the first time, İş Bank of the Republic of Turkey. It supported my projects, and I feel myself as a person of İş Bank with gratitude. If İş Bank did my support me, did not support my projects… There are lots of smarter people than me in the street, there were richer people. I was the lucky one. I presented my projects well. I only worked with İş Bank until 2000. I did not have any account in any other bank. There is no other example That is to say, when I brought the project to İş Bank and took the money, people from İş Bank knew that Turgay would not take this money so as to close his debt in any B bank because I had no account in any other bank, they knew this.
I had chance to have opportunity to present those projects, and provide that source. That is the source. It is the money box. People defrauded that bank from that bank. I did not do such a thing, I did not lie I was always honest. My cheat is honesty. All people and all financiers say that “Turgay Ciner declares valid”, they do not want any signature, they say that “when he says, it is true”. The entire business life knows it, this is my biggest income. My friends, enemies, opponents and competitions know that when Turgay Ciner says something, he will do it. Having these things is the largest fortune.
The source is İş Bank, I thank it. İş Bankası provided that I have this position, did not it provide for Koç or Sabancı? I am not the only one. İş Bankası was establish to grow the economy of Turkey for this purpose and it is one of the rare banks not having any philosophy of bankrupting its customers. One of them is Vakıflar Bank. These are fund banks, these banks have no owner other than its employees. It is good to work with these two banks.
Do you think entering finance sector?
No, I have all the banks. As I said beforehand, you see that the most esteemed man for them is Adana İş Bank branch manager when looking at memories of the deceased Sabancı. For me, the most esteemed man in my life was Taksim İş Bank branch manager. I love one as my father. They supported enterprises before me, those using it correctly were permanent, those using wrong went bankrupt. Leading Companies of Turkey had source of İş Bank. I explained the secret source finally and I feel relieved.
Are you committed to country?
I fulfilled all of my performances for myself, my family, place where I live, town where I was born. I was beneficial for my family, I provided employment for my country, I built my school where I live and to Maltepe. Education is very important for me. For instance, many people do not know this, 1 percent of sales of Sabah newspaper is for Tema, 1 percent is for Darüşşafaka, for the education of those orphans and successful children.
FLAGSHIPS OF CINER
Park Termik, belonging to Ciner Group, is the largest 98th industrial Company with sales figure from the production of 292 trillion TL. Other Companies that take place on the list of largest 500 Companies of Istanbul Chamber of Industry of Merkez Gazetecilik and Park Teknik belonging to Ciner Group. Park Teknik is the largest third Company regarding mining and quarrying. Park Teknik is the largest private Company of this activity branch. Another Company Merkez Gazetecilik succeeded to enter ISO 500 from 121st rank. Electricity sector is another sector that Ciner Group leads. While Park Termik became the largest 4th Company of the Electricity sector, it ranked 98th in ISO 500.
Sales Revenue (Net) [1.000.000 TL]
Merkez Gazete Dergi Yayıncılık
Park Teknik Elektrik
WHY DID HAVAS BECOME A BYWORD?
Question should be asked about Havaş, you left Havaş last year, but this was one of the most important works. No, in fact it was not very important. Havaş has a very small part in our endorsement. It has a share of 80 – 90 million dollars within an endorsement of 1,5 billion dollars. It is not very important. But I will say why it seems so important for people. Decision-makers, managers and public opinion leaders of Turkey use airports. There are vehicles having emblem of Havaş passing continuously everywhere in the airport. Those huge tools walking continuously amaze, tractors, people wearing aviation clothes… When these people work like a beaver, it is thought that we earn money. But Havaş is a good Company. This Company should be taken as an example in the Turkish history of privatization. Is this because of it is a good Company? It was a successful privatization. It was a successful foreign capital investment operation. Only we could not make public offer due to crises.
IS BESIKTAS CHAIRMANSHIP ON THE AGENDA?
You were member of the Board in Beşiktaş club beforehand, will the Chairmanship be on the agenda in the future?
No, it will not. My period of being a party was over. I lead a Company doing semi-public business. It is not possible that you discriminate like Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe. I am a good fan of Beşiktaş. And I love Beşiktaş. But, my current position prevents that I enter Beşiktaş. You should stand at equal distance to all the clubs. If I damage equal distance, people will be affected. When people are affected, there is discomfort materially and spiritually. Since I am aware of my responsibility, I keep away from Beşiktaş as far as possible.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT KOZA GROUP?
New entrepreneurs are coming in mining. For instance, Koza group is interested in gold. This is very god, I met them, very good, I was happy. I support these friends, I encourage them. Ounce of gold exceeded 500 dollars, and they earn great money. People in that region have a job. They created a fear that cyanide pollutes the around. Fishes swim within water with the cyanide. What can environmental pollution do more? Then, people should not do any business, they should burn fire, trees by rubbing them each other…
Koza group also entered media business, there is very interesting coincidence, an entrepreneur group growing in mining purchased Bugün newspaper maybe with your support. I support young and entrepreneur people with admiration because I had very difficulty in telling my dreams. When someone tells my his/her dreams, I can understand better. I provide support as much as I can do.
How much is purchase of Bugün?
It is not a significant figure as a monetary matter.
*We met with Ciner in Building of General Management of Park Holding located in Nemlizade Tobacco Store that is the highest historical building of the Bosphorus with mansion characteristic. The characteristic of the mansion that separates it from many other structures in the Bosphorus ahead of ferry port in Usküdür – Beşiktaş, is that it is one within the other with daily life in Usküdür. It is possible to monitor movement in Usküdar square, those running towards the ferry and port, and hurry of people who gorge in buffet from the room of Ciner. This is the first year of Holding center in this building.
*The structure belonging to Vedat Tek who is legendary architect and left his mark on establishment period of the Republic was built on a land of 705 square meters in total. The building had been purchased by Park Holding in the amount of 16 trillion liras.
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