Believe in Qatar, Invest in Qatar: Turkish businessman
26 Sep 2017 - 2:28
By Irfan Bukhari / The Peninsula
The unjust siege imposed on Qatar has failed to shatter the unswerving trust of investors in the country and they plan to start new ventures without apprehensions.
“Believe in Qatar, invest in Qatar” is the slogan with which a Turkish businessman, Omer Seyfi Aktulun (pictured), is attracting more investors from Turkey to launch ambitious business ventures in Qatar with confidence.
Aktulun, in partnership with Al Hayat family, opened Sazeli at Mall of Qatar with a whopping QR22m investment a year ago and today he terms his venture a ‘great success’.
Sazeli is a well-established brand of signature Turkish cuisine with two fine-dining restaurants in Istanbul. “Since the very beginning when I used to visit Qatar to discover investment opportunities, before the opening of Sazeli, I found Qatar a loveable, welcoming place,” said Aktulun.
He said that being an investor and businessman, his trust in Qatar was not affected by ongoing blockade. “Rather, I am set to launch two new projects in next three months. I am bringing Turkish hand-made chocolate “Maia” to Qatar and the other project is also related to food.”
Sazeli Chairman says that he did not meet any bureaucratic or other procedural hurdle when he decided to open chain of his restaurant in Qatar. “I have become an example for those Turkish investors who want to do business in Qatar,” he said, adding that over 100 Turkish investors had visited Qatar using his help to explore investment opportunities in Qatar.
“My success has become a source of inspiration for fence-sitting investors who were previously caught in little confusion.”
Omer Aktulun, who has been serving as head of livestock section of Istanbul Chamber of Commerce for long, thinks that now many Turkish businessmen are poised to invest in Qatar. “They can invest in food sector, construction sector or infrastructure development or even in agriculture,” he noted.
To a question about the impact of siege on Qatar’s economy and growth, Aktulun said that Qatar would grow stronger due to blockade. “In next 10 years, Qatar will achieve self sufficiency in food and other sectors,” he observed.
Coming back to Sazeli which he launched a year ago, he said that as many as 170 people were employed at the restaurant. “Around 100 employees are from Turkish origin therefore we are offering authentic cuisine in peculiar Turkish ambience,” he said, adding that Sazeli was set to hire 50 more Turkish employees for the restaurant.
Aktulun feels very proud when he says that the Emir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Sazeli on its opening.
Most of the raw material from meat to spices used at Sazeli is imported from Turkey. “We are importing stuff from both ships and air cargo.” Aktulun said that opening of new Turkey-Iran-Qatar land-sea route would also help his business and the supply of goods would become more smooth and cost-effective.
He said that the blockade has strengthened Turkey-Qatar relations. “Bilateral trade has grown manifold, new shipping lines have been started and this process will continue for the greater interest of both nations.”
Aktulun, who also serves as Vice President of Hunting Federation of Turkey, said that he felt proud that many Turkish companies, particularly construction firms, were doing mega projects in Qatar.
He said that like Turkish investors showing interest in Qatar, Qatari investments in Turkey were also on the rise. “Many Qatari companies and individuals have invested in Turkey considering it as their second home like we consider Qatar as our second home,” Aktulun said, adding: “These relations are not based just on business interests, they are deep-rooted emotional connections.”
When asked whether siege had impacted his business, he said that the impact was momentary as “State of Qatar had overcome crisis” swiftly presenting quick solutions. “Now trade and commerce in Qatar will be more aggressive and proactive as compared to the situation existing before siege,” he observed.
He said that the honourable response to crisis from Qatar had attracted people all over the world. “Now there exist more respect, more interest for Qatar and its people in the world community.”