The Country Advisor of the Turkish Investment Office, FARUK KURTULMUS, dreams of building bridges – and learning Hamburg’s secrets from Helmut Schmidt.
- How many people work for your company in Germany?
Currently we are two colleagues coordinating our activities in the DACH Region from Germany. We get support from our PR and Consulting Agency in Hamburg and from our colleagues in our Istanbul and Ankara Offices. We’re also planning to increase the number of our support personnel in the future.
- How was 2021 for your agency?
Turkey offers business-friendly policies, a deep talent pool and global market access at the nexus of Europe, Asia and Africa to attract sustainable foreign direct investments (FDI). Turkey’s economic performance during the pandemic has proven that it has a resilient, agile, and flexible economy. In 2021, we outperformed our average annual pre-pandemic FDI levels and current figures indicate an even better performance in 2022.
- Are there technological developments that will have a particular influence on your business development?
Thanks to its entrepreneurial business culture, young and tech-savvy population, skilled engineer pool and competitive products and services Turkey attracts major investments from global financial investors, including German VCs. Turkey was named one of the top 10 recipients of investment in Europe in the first quarter of 2022. During the pandemic, the Turkish entrepreneurship sector has seen 4 unicorns and 2 decacorns, operating in the field of online gaming, delivery services, software and e-commerce.
- Are there any differences for you between working life between Germany and in your home country?
There are a number of differences on the business culture between Germany and Turkey. But I have noticed that a mixture of our business cultures is just perfect. We are complementary countries. A combination of German caution and the Turkish get-up-and-go approach to business is the winning solution.
- Which characteristic do you value most in your employees?
We are a governmental agency with a private sector approach. Our team consists of young professionals who have private sector experience. Being multilingual, dynamic and persistent is important for our office.
- What was the last business achievement of your team that still makes you proud?
Nowadays my office is actively supporting a few dozen investment projects from the DACH Region, and that is a source of pride for me. But as the Country Advisor of the Investment Office, I am focused on how much more we can contribute to the Turkish-German partnership.
- Where do you consider home?
I consider myself at home in Hamburg and Istanbul.
- Who would you like to have dinner with? And why this person?
I would love to have had dinner with Mr. Helmut Schmidt. He was a very successful politician and a wise person. And he was from Hamburg. There would be so many things I could learn from him about the city and the life during the dinner.
- What do you particularly like about Hamburg?
I love the city. I call it a boutique metropolis. It has all the advantages of a big cosmopolitan city but is still very clean and tidy. Whatever you are looking for, you can find it in Hamburg. The city is very diverse; it has such a wide range of media institutions and exceptionally openminded, bright think-tanks.
- What’s your favourite restaurant in Hamburg?
I have three favourite restaurants in Hamburg. Trattoria da Enzo DUE at Grossneumarkt. I enjoy the long summer afternoons at this cozy corner of Hamburg. I love Asian cuisine and particularly the sushi restaurant Kampai near Reeperbahn – it’s tiny but has the coolest chef. When I miss home, I go to Lades Restaurant on Steindamm and order their homestyle dishes.
- Apart from Hamburg, which are your two favourite cities worldwide?
I would say Rome and Antalya. The first because of its great history and second because of the absolutely wonderful landscape.
- Friends are visiting – where do you take them?
My tour starts at Rathaus via Alte Post with a break at the Coffee Shop. The Kunsthalle for friends who are fond of art. I end the tour around sunset at Landungsbrucken. For kids, it has to be Miniature Wonderland!
- What is your idea of a perfect weekend?
I am nature and sea lover. My perfect weekend would be camping next to the sea.
- Where do you like to spend your vacation?
The Turkish Riviera is one of the most beautiful spots. With my caravan, I have explored the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in the past two years. My next holidays will be dedicated to discovering the Turkish Aegean coast.
- You have one wish. What do you wish for?
It may sound like a cliché, but my only wish would be peace in Ukraine, Syria, Palestine and other places where innocent people and especially children are suffering.
Born in 1980 in Istanbul, Turkiye, Faruk Kurtulmus spent his childhood in Germany. He studied economics and international relations at Istanbul University. Kurtulmus went into banking, including the state-owned Halkbank. In 2008, he joined BSH Hausgeräte GmbH. In 2014 he joined the Investment Office of the Presidency of Turkiye as Senior Project Director to support direct investments coming from German speaking countries. In 2018, the Investment Office opened an office in Hamburg and Kurtulmus was appointed Country Advisor.