Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What are your intentions behind writing a blog about everyday matters?

 

I have four reasons for writing this blog. Firstly, I want to share my experiences that I have accumulated with as many people as I can to keep them in touch and informed. Whether it be in my work or private life, also as I deal with matters in the civil arena, I travel a lot, speak with a lot of people and I learn new things. As I have a curious nature, I always try to develop myself. For this reason, I have gathered a lot about some serious matters.

Secondly, I have a philosophy and the foundation for this philosophy is to ‘live life to the fullest’. To work hard and fulfil responsibilities is one thing, but to also live life and enjoy it, is another. For this reason, the motto for my blog is ‘Pura Vida’.

Thirdly, I am writing so you can get to know me better. Whether it be about me or my family, everyone has an opinion about us. What you read in the media or hear through the grapevine may not always be a true reflection, so for this reason you may read some made up stories about us. So I want you to hear from me first hand about me.

Finally, I live in a seriously stressful environment and two things help me recharge. Firstly sport, and the other one is to write. After I complete my articles, I feel relaxed. Most times, I can finish my articles in one go.

2. What is your aim with the support project? Who are you connected to?

 

I’ve really had enough of telling people this. I honestly do all the civil society projects to truly be a ‘benefit to people’. We are in an era where helping people seems to hurt us. Many people do say ‘OK he is doing this now but…’ (‘But’ is always the key word in our society) ‘what’s the motive behind it?’ is their real question. I’ll tell you what is my aim, it’s to genuinely be a benefit to society. In my previous article, I wrote the below paragraph in capital letters:

 

AT TIDER, WE HAVE NO CONNECTION TO ANY GROUP, INSTITUTE OR FOUNDATION. AS TURKISH CITIZENS, OUR ONLY AIM IS TO HELP THOSE IN NEED IN OUR COUNTRY AND TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE BASIC NECESSITIES SO THEY CAN STAND ON THEIR OWN FEET. OUR THREE PRINCIPLES CONSIST OF IMPARTIALITY, TRANSPARENCY AND HONESTY.

3. What do you do to be an environmentalist? Are you really one?

 

I’m not one of those people who plant two or three trees to show off as an environmentalist. As part of my character, if I say I'll do something, with my full sincerity I’ll stand by it. When I say I am proudly an environmentalist and when I say to people around me to also be environmentalists, I am dead serious and never just say it for the sake of it. Since my university days, so for almost 20 years, I have been a member of Greenpeace in which I fully support.

Everyone in our energy firm knows just how sensitive I am about these topics. They also know that I will fire anyone who cuts a tree. We don’t believe in cutting trees. Worst case scenario is, we will transport one from one place to another but also replace it with a new one. This is an unchanged rule in our energy firm. I also want to note that I grew up with a Magnolia tree, one of Istanbul’s finest. In my childhood home in Bebek where I grew up, the Magnolia tree in our garden was one of a kind. The writer of the Hurriyet paper, Mr Mehmet Yilmaz wrote about our famous Magnolia tree many many times. Here is the article:

 

This is a picture of the tree located in our garden in Bebek, in our family home on Insirah Hill, where both my childhood and youth years were spent.

 

Furthermore, environmentalism is not just about ‘loving trees’. It’s about loving all beings. For example, loving animals means just as much. Also, I don’t think I need to say this, but I also love all animals. Animals are beautiful and simple creatures. They are innocent, friendly and not bad willed. They feel love and can show it back. I don’t have a pet at home that I look after as I don’t have time to look after myself, especially when looking after animals require so much responsibility. I have an enormous love relationship with my mothers, fathers, and sisters dogs. I can’t even explain the reaction these dogs have when they see me (which of course, I love returning the feelings to them).

The boy hugging this monkey in the photo is me. Since I’ve known, I’ve always loved animals.

This is a photo of my favourite dog Betsy. This love filled dog is my fathers.

 

 

4. You say you’re such an environmentalist. Didn’t your family build the Gokkafes?

 

Yes, our family built it. However, they laid the foundations to Gokkafes when I was just 10 years old. By the way, the building the media call Gokkafes is actually known as Suzer Plaza. The word ‘Kafes’ (cage in Turkish) can have many different meanings in Turkish. When the construction finished, I was still in university in my final year. You would need to judge me on the things I’ve done. This is the only fair way to.

On the other hand, I have spoken to many people about this topic. Infact I even came across people swearing at my family (when they didn’t realise I could hear them). Of course, even after these heated conversations, in the end, I was able to make these people regret their actions. I generally said to the people I came across “you may not like the building, you can say it ruins the silhouette, I’ll respect that, these are your thoughts. But you cannot say that this building ‘is against the law’. Is there even a possibility to build a building in Istanbul of that size to be ‘against the law’. That building was built on all legal grounds. All the rights and permissions were given. In order to erect it, our family won the right amongst 40 other companies, which took about 3 years. Infact in our case, there was one that took over 10 years.

The contract won was also given as a ‘right that can not be taken back’ principle. Because at first while the building project was to be built as a wide and shorter one, at the same metre square, it was built as a tall thin one (the change and restructuring of the project had us lose another 4 years) by the Istanbul Council Principle at the time. Afterwards though, they say things like ‘imperialist strengths build like this, which are like daggers to Istanbul’s heart’ and try to take us to court. Unfortunately, where there is no government sustainability, we are seen as unseen investors.

They also told amazing stories like ‘changing the rules for us only’. And while rumours like this sound nice, they are nothing but false details. There is definitely no truth in this. The building sits in the adjoining districts of Besiktas, Sisli and Beyoglu. In order to determine which adjoining region it is connected to, we applied to the courts. After taking a 3 years process looking over the old titles, they found that this land was part of the Sisli district. There was nothing like a border change made overnight. Sometimes I’d hear stories like this where people thought I couldn’t hear them, to that I’d reply ‘wow what power we have to do things overnight in which I didn’t even know of’. The only self-criticism I could have about this topic is the fact that although we had the permission to build so high, why did we insist on it. I personally asked my father this, because if we were to financially make a loss, it would be a matter of conscious to the public in my opinion. Finally, I’d like to state my view about the buildings. In the future, quite the opposite to today, shorter buildings, close to nature will replace these high and tall buildings. Infact, they won’t be using concrete in the future. We are going to witness the increase of ‘self-sufficient’ and ‘self energy producing’ places with the use of high technology.

5. Which social media accounts do you hold?

 

I have Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts. My Twitter account is not active. As it’s a place where everyone offends each other, I have no intention at the moment to activate it. I hope no one misunderstands this but there’s so much nonsense there, so I choose not to use it unfortunately.

6. We know your brother Baran from the media; why are you not so active in this platform? How is it possible to be so different?

I generally don’t like to be seen in the media. I only have to give interviews due to the activities I’m involved in. People who put a lot of effort into the magazine press know us really well. Once upon a time, they started to call me ‘the other heir to the Suzer name’ (which mind you I hate the Heir word) and when I clearly advised the reporters that I don’t like my private life to be reflected into the media, and that I would never be good material for them, I asked them kindly to stop taking my photos. Thankfully, with the excuse of some exceptions, they respected my wishes. In general, I prefer my surroundings know me as just ‘Serhan’ and not as ‘Serhan Suzer’.

7. What are your general thought about energy?

 

I am certainly a renewable energy conservationist. I believe fossils burned should be used as raw materials. In other words, as petrol should be used in petrochemical industry (in recyclable plastic production for example), and natural gas in the use of fertilisers.

In the interest of our country and energy independence, we need to give priority to our sources first. The reason for the current deficit by several lengths is because of imported energy. Infact these are such big figures that even if we don’t import energy for some years, a high deficit is not reliant of this. If we focus on our own energy sources, we can make some serious contributions to our economy.

When I speak of our own resources, I don’t mean the lignite reserves. Using the the lowest caloric lignite is not an effective option, as infact the most important is coal carbon release which is the highest fossil fuel type. In other words, burning this degree of montane lignite is a reason for an environmental massacre.

Also, I have four reasons why I am against nuclear. Firstly, the waste disposal, secondly the waste heat, thirdly the risk of an accident and finally, the fact that some foreign countries will run the facilities that can possibly result in a nuclear bomb.

I don’t want to go on about this in too much detail but if you’d like further information, you can contact me on my email: serhan.suzer@eko.re

8. How do you follow technology? Are you going to make a breakthrough on this topic?

 

As I advised before, I am a very curious person. As I personally have curiosity about technology, I do a lot of research around it. Renewable energy, digitalisation, mobile payments, transportation, nano technology, biotechnology are areas that I like to deal with the most.

In the future, I will invest in different technologies. One of my other life goals is to enable improvements in different areas of technology to be beneficial to people. When things fall into play in the future (once all the leaders and teams in the companies have settle down), I plan to focus on ARGE only.

I have already stated to have an input in this with my work model. Our support project already carries the specialities of integrating social assistance and providing job opportunities into its model. Sooner or later, there will be imitated versions coming out (which I don’t mind, as long as they use the right model). We have already started telling global food banks about our models.

9. Why haven’t you got married till this age? Is there a problem?

I come across this question quite often. To be honest I’m starting to get angry. I’ll answer it quickly. Firstly this is my private life. In our country it seems people are curious about others lives. Actually if everyone in this country minded their own business, we’d get a lot further. I’d like to just say one thing: since my childhood I’ve always loved children, the idea of a family union and to do all I can to be a father. I only want to do the marriage thing once (although I have a lot of friends who have been married twice, infact some three times) so I want to only get married when I find the right person.

10. Where does your relationship with Costa Rica come from? How did you become honorary consulate?

I didn't have any real connection with Costa Rica. It was pure coincidence that I became honorary consulate. I can say it happened on behalf of my father. The adventure started with my dads cancer treatment in Houston and with meeting a top level Costa Rican bureaucrat who visited us in Istanbul. After meeting her, she started to introduce me to her close relations and network. At first not really comprehending it, I learnt in time that she was the primary consultant for the Costa Rican President, and invited me to her country. I thought I’d visit there for 2-3 days in between my visits to America. In thinking this, the first night I went to Costa Rica, I attended an event at the Presidents house, that night the a President asked me “we need someone to actively represent us in Turkey, would you do this?” And I replied “it would be my honour”. On top of this, being an important figure in Latin America and Central America, resisting the guerrillas and receiving a Nobel peace prize for this, the President Oscar Zaria wrote a formal letter to our then Prime Minister, Abdullah Gul about my appointment.

When I look back, I say thankgod I became the honorary consulate for Costa Rica. Representing this country by pure coincidence, suited me just perfectly. So much so that if I was to choose a country, I’d choose Costa Rica. Because everyone is very sensitive about the environment and peace in the country. You can say Costa Rica is like the Switzerland of Latin America. When they have problems about the surrounding countries, they come to Costa Rica for solutions. Nobel Peace prize awarded Oscar Arias always encourages peace at all times. For example, although it’s a small country, he holds a very authoritative place for the U.S. 25% of the country’s soil is made of national parks in a country that is covered in tropical forests. You can’t even hammer a nail into anything. Even their hotels have the ‘tourism responsibility’ concept which is built to blend with nature.

And here is an amazing Costa Rica video: Essential Costa Rica!

 

Actually there are so many things I could tell you about Costa Rica and my role as honorary consulate. I will go into detail about this in my next piece.

 

Take care…

 

 

 

 

11. You say you do a lot of this work, ‘if I had my fathers money, I’d do much more’. Are you showing off with his money?

This is one of the questions I love answering. Our people have the habit to and love to overthrow people. So, although we do a lot of things out of goodwill, you may still receive messages to put you down and demotivate rather than support.

I have thought about this negative psychology quite a lot. The conclusion I came to was: our people are not happy and they try to make themselves happy by degrading others. I believe this behaviour needs to change. Otherwise, this unhappiness, exhaustion and fuss and fight environment can restrict the development of the country and will continue to make it an unliveable place. For this situation to improve, I am putting up the fights necessary. For example, I am trying to gain supporters of ‘Pura Vida’ in our country:

 

http://www.serhansuzer.com/2014/02/26/pura-vida/#more-2

 

Going back to the question, I respond like this to the people who say things like this to me: I have been doing my own work since 2011. Yes, at the beginning I borrowed a significant amount from my father for a firm of our scale (in which I am paying him back) and firstly, I invested in solar energy. And then I sold the shares of this company to a foreign investor and continued on to my own path. I, also at the moment am managing my own ventures, which are some ventures facilities in areas of sun, wind and biogas energy, mobile payment and software. Also, I am managing projects, on behalf of Tider (the Basic Needs Society). For people who know me, know that I work endlessly, day, night and even weekends to make all this happen. So for those that say ‘I am living off my fathers money’ trying to degrade me, can go looking elsewhere. There’s nothing here for them.

12. Why are you doing your solar energy projects on soil? Isn’t it a bad thing for soil and farming areas? Isn’t there any room on the roofs?

In my previous answer section, I stated that I don't use my Twitter account because people use this platform to offend each other. Seems like LinkedIn has become like Twitter. The posts I thought  I was sharing with just my network was actually open to everyone. In the Konya Kulu project, I shared the below photo to give an update of the constructed result (before the panels were placed). Many people I didn’t know, wrote some very interesting comments. Here is that photo:

http://serhansuzer.com/upload/page/sik-sorulan-sorulara-cevaplarim-2/Resim_1.jpg

These negative comments came from people in the renewable energy sector. These then misguided others and raised the question of why I use energy centralised in farming areas. And as an answer, I shared the below:

“You cannot start a project until you can prove it is outside ‘farming regulations’ so, things like the solar energy central in Konya, which produces unlicensed electricity approaches, are not possible until you receive approval in writing that it is of ‘marginal farming’ status. You can’t really make a comment from a drone photo taken at birds eye view, because this area is not suitable for farming. We are very sensitive about these topics”.

Furthermore, not being satisfied with this (because they are so persistent), we got comments like “leave the soil alone, try these on the roofs”. To this I answered like this:

Firstly, there are many fields in Turkey that are at non-farming status. There are so many fields all around Turkey not being utilised. It’s absolutely normal to utilise mountains, hills and rocky areas that are not farming suited.

Secondly, there’s some issues around the legislation of roofs. The whole sector is trying to endlessly find ways of minimising the bureaucratic procedures. I am assistant to the Director of the Unlicensed Electric Production Society. There are some projects around the roof industry projects which I personally manage. For this to develop, we are seriously working, but it’s not always easy to proceed (it’s easy to say and criticise, but to do this is not that easy).

Thirdly, people in the sector know very well that we don’t cover the area around GES (Sun Energy Central), we don’t damage it. Infact we build a modular system in areas that previously had residences, factories, hotels, hospitals and generally stationary concrete structures. If these areas can be used for other purposes, they can easily be transformed, GES can easily do this. Infact, while GES is in operation, the empty space under the panels can simultaneously be used. There is a study related to this, Fraunhofer  Institute. If you put these factors together and realise how much Turkey needs solar energy in terms of economic, ecological, national security (independent energy), then criticising the solar energy system, gives me doubt about people who make such comments.

Afterwards, I received messages of support. I would like to thank those who had the right feelings and sensations when supporting us.

In my final word, I’d like to add that we only use areas that are no longer suitable for farming (as I mentioned shove in the ‘marginal farming’ section) which we will continue to do, although I believe there is an incorrect misjudgement here. As I said above, I will one day prove that you can utilise farming under the sun panels. With the use of information and technology, I believe I will be able to break the misjudgements and in the future, I will share the findings of the ARGE study conducted by EkoRE.

13. Did you really conduct the rural reconstruction project of Yirca?

Of course the Tider society did it. There have been some who have been ignorant about the efforts of our Tider team and how they turned this into a great project, and some who have tried to claim this as their own besides the women of Yirca, however nothing can change the reality.

Previously, I wrote about a project we conducted in Yirca village in Soma. You can reach this article at this link:

 

http://www.serhansuzer.com/2016/03/02/soma-faciasi-ve-ilk-kalkinma-projemiz/#more-1709

 

For those who won’t be able to read it, I will briefly summarise it. For Yirca women to stand on their own feet, we developed this project named ‘Komurun Isi Sabunun Misi’, which was a rural development project that consisted of efforts from many many people. The results of the projects and work done in Soma by our Tider team was shared with the civil society institutes. Afterwards, we setup workshops in Izmir and Soma which many CSO, professional associations and volunteers attended. The Sabun project was an idea born in that workshop. This project, which took a year, came to a good point with financial and intangible support, education, communication, marketing and social media support. Besides our society’s efforts, many other CSO, professional associations, volunteers and even the Inci foundation made some serious contributions. A couple of months ago, we handed it over to the real owners of the project, the women of Yirca.

 

The people who helped develop the women of Yirca the most were again women. Selen Gokdeniz, Yasemin Tutal, Yasemin Mursaoglu, Berkin Yarar, Cigdem Yumbul, Nigar Ucar, Sare Feyza Alaybeyi were amongst those who took enormous pride in taking place in this project. Of course, we must include the men who also worked day and night, and even weekends in Yirca to make this possible.

In taking this opportunity, I’d like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, for all their efforts. I again would like to share the videos with you:

 

 

 

14. You look really young, what’s the secret?

I wasn’t sure if the person who asked this question was being serious but I often get comments about not looking my age. I’m 38 and people who don’t know me think I’m a student that has just finished their university degree. Last week I went to a 40th birthday celebration of a high school friend. Many of my high school friends had also attended. After a 20 year period, everyone was comparing who looked different or not. Naturally, the physical  appearance of some had changed. Infact, I hardly recognised some of them. However, they did say that I have looked after myself real well since high school. I don’t do anything special for this. I don’t use an ongoing cream. I can say I’m genetically lucky. I remember my grandfather looking good for his age. For now, there’s no change with my skin or hair. And even if there was to be one, it’s a beauty that age brings.

15. Where in Turkey are you from?

My father is from Gaziantep and my mother is from Trabzon. I was born in Nisantasi, my primary school was in Ciftehavuzlar in Bagdat Street, and my middle school/ high school were in Bebek. I studied university in Canada. For some period, I worked in America. I know the history of exactly where both my mother and fathers family comes from, which I am proud of both. Our roots stem out to Anatolia, in which I’ll never lose. For this reason, I have good communication skills with people in Anatolia. I get this question everywhere I go, which I really like to be honest. It comes across as almost like a question of micro nationalism. We should all know where we come from, but more importantly focus on being a ‘good person’. Not only in our country but everywhere in the world, there are good people and bad people. I can’t judge the bad based on where they come from. I will treat people the way they deserve. Due to the way I was bought up, I am able to build relationships easily when travelling abroad, because I see myself as a world citizen.

16. Would you ever go into the petrol and natural gas scene?

As principle, even if I knew it was worth millions of dollars, I wouldn’t. I believe burned fossils should be used as raw materials. Petrol used in petrochemical industries (can be used as recyclable products) and natural gas as fertilisers. By burning these sources, we are actually polluting the environment and destroying sources that we can use as raw materials. In the future generations, people are going to get angry with us by saying “people in the past were so stupid to burn sources that could have been used as raw materials, and to top if off, ruined the balances of nature”.

 

Renewable energy is more than enough for us. I am very happy and proud to be in the sector I’m in. I’ll never go into a industry that isn’t about energy or renewable energy. I may in the future add other areas such as biofuels, geothermal, wave, stream to the areas I already have interest in which are sun, wind and biogas. I would like to share with you an article I wrote in 2017, which was published in the Turkish Policy Quarterly, which was about energy titled ‘why we need to target for 100% renewable energy in Turkey”. Please find the link below:

 

http://www.turkishpolicy.com/article/632/why-turkey-should-aim-for-100-renewable-energy-summer-2013

 

17. How often do you see your siblings?

Before I studied university abroad, I was very close with my twin Baran. Then we separated the countries of residence. I went to Canada and he went to England to study. Then we came back together in the family firm. At the moment, Baran is living abroad for work and my sister Nazli is living abroad for her studies. That’s why we don’t see each other often.

 

 

This is a photo Baran and I. The tall one on the left is Baran and the tiny one on the right is me.

 

Up until 2 years ago I dealt with all things for Nazli. I have made alot of contributions to her. Now it makes me happy to see that she can do everything for herself. I hope she finishes her studies soon and gets the job she has her heart on.

 

 

18. How is your relationship with sport?

Quite good. If I wasn’t a businessman, I’d be a professional sportsman (especially in tennis and kayaking). It’s definitely an advantage that I can use both hands and legs in sport. Besides tennis and kayaking, I also engage in football, basketball, swimming, water kayak sports (mono, wakeboard), squash, table tennis, water polo, running, cycling and trekking. I have an intermediate level in all these.

I was always lucky when it came to sport. To always have a twin besides me, a professional sportsmen in the family (aunts husband, which I will write about soon) and the fact that my university placed a lot of emphasis on it with many events (McGill University, Canada) always motivated me and never allowed me to distance myself from sport. Now I am trying to continue the tradition on.

 

https://www.facebook.com/serhan.suzer.10/videos/10152366496360757/

 

19. Is there a visa requirement for Costa Rica?

There is no Costa Rica visa requirements for Turkish Citizens. Instead, at the entry they require a stamp. This covers you for a 1 month tourist visa in which you can travel the whole country. That’s why as honorary consulate, we service other country citizens. During my honorary consulate time, we have serviced and assisted citizens from over 30 different countries. You can read about the visa details on our honorary consulate website:

 

http://www.costaricaconsulistanbul.com/VisaEntryRequirements.aspx

 

20. Where should you visit in Costa Rica?

We can say Costa Rica is a piece of heaven of Central America. In its North, there is Nicaragua, in its South, neighbouring Panama, in the East, the Pacific Ocean and its in West, the Atlantic Ocean. The surface area this beautiful small country measures at is 52.000km2. The Pacific shores climate is different, the beaches are beautiful and the Atlantic coast has postcard views with white sandy beaches, and turquoise seas. The majority of the country is covered in tropical forests. Although it only takes up 0.3% on a world scale, it has 6% bio cysts. You can visit the tropical forests, the volcanoes, beaches, coasts and the city, participate in events and do sport.

Here are some photos of Costa Rica:

 

 

 

 

For further information, please check out the below links:

www.visitcostarica.com
http://mytanfeet.com/activities/50-activities-things-to-do-in-costa-rica/
http://costaricaexperts.com/things-to-do-in-costa-rica/
https://www.tripadvisor.com.tr/Attractions-g291982-Activities-Costa_Rica.html
http://travel.usnews.com/Costa_Rica/Things_To_Do/

 

 

 

21. How can I contribute to Tider (Basic Needs Society)?

You can support us in whichever way your situation can assist. I have summarized them below:

 

a) Cash Donation

In order to sustain their lives, we provide the most tangible and solid support of the basic goods to those in need, for children who don’t have mothers or fathers, your donations can give them hope for the future and help us in our battle with poverty. Along with this, you can be an ongoing contributor and donate a chosen amount each month. Your donations will be converted into goods on the shelves of the Support Market such as basic staples, cleaning and clothing items and with the support of HR, provide employment to disadvantaged families. You can contact Tider for cash donations, deposit money into the below account or visit www.tider.org and either make a donation or choose to be an ongoing supporter of donation.

 

GARANTI BANK TL ACCOUNT

Branch: Maltepe (205)

Account No: 6293567

TR74 0006 2000 2050 0006 2935 67

 

b) Goods Relief Donation

With this method, we can provide families with goods that you have too much of, or that are seasonal, may be close to its ‘use by date’ or have some packaging faults which you cannot use or sell any longer, and instead make an effective social contribution. In any case, in order to destruct these goods would cost alot more. However, if you donate these, you avoid paying the destruction cost and infact can claim the production costs 100% against tax. During destruction of these goods, you can potentially harm the ecologic system due to the gases produced during termination. By donating these instead, you can reduce your carbon footprint. At the same time you can avoid waste and help with the battle against poverty and in turn help benefit thousands of people and fulfil your corporate social responsibilities.

 

What is the process for Goods Relief Donation?

-you can either send or we can pickup the goods ready for donation

-arrange the cost consideration and dispatch a waybill

-once your products reach our Support Market, it is our responsibility to protect your brand and its value

-we will provide you with an invoice that you can use to claim tax

-you can be sure that your donation has gone to the right place. For this we will provide you with ongoing reports. By this, you can see which of your products have gone to which family etc.

-in order to increase our mutual effect, we can announce a partnership

 

c) Volunteering

If you would like to help us with our battle with poverty and unemployment, the best way is to become a Tider volunteer to contribute whole heartedly. You can do this either individually or on behalf of your firm.

 

What you can do as a Tider volunteer:

-stack shelves, barcode items, control the depo at the Support Market

-tell your friends about Tider, give out our brochures, follow and share our posts via social media

-personally meet the families we make donations to; get to know them and help find an appropriate job for them, or come and hangout with us at the Support Market and meet the families

-help us assist families with job interviews; connect them with employers and provide us with updates regarding this

-If you have the experience, you can support by providing the necessary training, strengthening and other educational support

-having a volunteers day at the company you work at, and come to visit and support us as a team

 

As a corporate volunteer, what can you do for Tider?

-have food and clothing donation boxes at your workplace for people to donate for our Support Market

-organising a Support Market volunteer day and contributing with your work team

-take a role in mentoring, with your corporate experience and knowledge

 

d) Company Sponsorship

Companies can support Tider by taking on its operational costs. Based on their own desire, they can choose to cover the costs either by cash donation or take on the role themselves and cover the cost as a sponsor.

Examples of the costs a sponsor can cover:

-expenses for our personnel

-contribute towards advertising and communication expenses

-cover expenses for the Tider Childrens Academy

-help assist with the purchase of main fixtures for new opening Support Markets

 

22. How can we setup a system to provide Solar energy for a 100 people residential area?

In Turkey, every household uses up to 3MWh electricity and if in each household there is a minimum of 4 people, there will be a consumption of 75MWh in 25 households. This will lead to a need for a 40-50kWp solar energy system and for this we’d need an area of at least 900-1.200m2.

23. I live in an apartment block in Istanbul. Can we setup a Solar energy system on the roof or garden of our building?

Structurally apartment buildings are a little bit complicated. However, if you can convince all your neighbours, then off course you can benefit from this without realising it. We actually receieve more than enough energy from the sun God provides us, which we need to make use of.

If we think about it, the new trend in energy is to produce and consume in the same place (smart networks will eventually take over gigantic networks), therefore its logical to consume energy from places closest to us. And for this, gardens or rooptops are the best solutions.

An affordable, and location based study needs to be conducted and of course, banks need to be involved in order to offer personal credit advantages to people who want to do this. This will all happen later on. In actual fact, instead of paying for electricity bills, you'll be paying off the credit loan and after many years (Istanbul 9 years, Mersin 6 years), you'll be using electricity for free.

 

24. Can Turkey be the centre of renewable energy?

This is possible. We haven't missed that train yet. We can actually say the renewable energy sector has just started. But in 5 years time, it might be late. When you look at our geography and history, we actually have potential to be the centre. And of course, the geography and history is not enough. It is only helpful when technology and people come into play.

In actual fact, we have no problem with people sources in our country. We have some real good engineers and professionals. If we can put an idea out, with a vision of world scale, and correct systems, these professionals can focus on constantly improve themselves.

Personally, my two most important missions are, renewable energy and to enable a sustainable concept that can quickly spread around the world, to essentially bring out a brand from our geogrpahy. If we succeed in doing this, it may open doors of some people and firms who also have potential here. I believe renewable energy can cover all the energy requirements of Turkeys potential. Infact, the suns energy is enough for us. As long as we have the right vision to provide these studies. Even if we do this, we will go beyond being the centre, we will become a country that for the first time, sets the trend for world energy.

25. I want to ask you a question like you are anybody. Being in this much wealth, what is the definition of poverty for you? (you can either respond in a worldy or otherworldly way), but please dont get my question wrong.

Wealth and poverty are relative definitions. For who and what is wealth and poverty? Is this wealth you talk of financial or spiritual? The answer to these can change from person to person.

Actually my worldly and otherworldly views complete each other. Here’s how:

Everyone comes to the world in some way. No one has the choice of choosing their family, country, spoken language and infact name. You can be born into a rich or poor family, parents that get along well or divorced, or into a family that constantly travels and has global views or grow into a local family. None of these are our choices. The important thing here is where you started your life when you were born and the difference of where you are when you pass away. If you have all your life added value, improved and developed yourself, contributed to humanity, to your family and environments, then it means you are a positive person. And we shouldnt just perceive this as financially. Some are successful businessmen, some are successful CSO directors, some successful writers and some are fantastic mothers bringing up good children. And this is whats important. If you have become a positive and good person, and have contributed to humanity and added to your life where you started, then it doesnt matter which world you’re in, it means you are in a good place.

26. I always see girls around you. Enjoy it, God gave you money too, theres no one holding you back?

Dont worry theres so many people in Turkey to handle and block. This is how our country runs unfortunately. If someone does something good or works hard, there will be people who try to imitate them or do anything possible to stop them in their tracks and even overthrow them.

And here we are trying to reach our targets by doing everything we possibly can. No matter what, we continue on our path.

Of course, there are two logic mistakes here. Firstly, the girls you see in my social media or on my blog are either my work friends, volunteer friends from the club or either my relatives. For whatever reason, when they see you with someone from the opposite sex, they immediately think you are in a relationship. This is actually a lame hypothesis. People who have thoughts like this are generally people who didnt grow up with feelings of love from their childhood. Thats why they misunderstand when opposite sexes come together.

Secondly, i have been doing my own work for the past 5.5 years. At the beginning, I borrowed money from my father, but now I progress independently. It means I am providing my own finance. And I am paying my father back. So that's why I see the comments about being blessed by God with money as an injustice.

There are some things I’d like you to know:

1) Men and women complete each other in all spaces. Thats why I try and balance this men and women thing in all my projects. For example, where women show less interest in, for example, engineering, I try and increase women in these areas. We developed our interim program based on this. I am proud of the men and women equality programs we have formed at work.

2) I also wrote about this in the Bozcaada blog http://serhansuzer.com/tr/kosu-bahane-bozcaada-sahane. The women volunteers we have in our club society trample the mens amount. We argued the reasons of this amongst ourselves. The result was:

Our club society Tider, provides food for those in need, cleanliness and clothes to meet the basic needs of people in need. And this brings out the motherly feelings at front. That’s why, as women are more sensitive and more heartfelt, supporting us like this enables a situation like this. Infact, one of our volunteers used another club society as an example: For example, there are more male volunteers in Akut. Although the General Secretary is a woman (who we adore), as far as their missions is concerned, they demand having more male volunteers there.

3) As principle, I dont share things about my social life on social media or on my blog. In the future, in this meaning the only woman you see this about, will be my life partner.

 

27. You can find my CV attached. I’m looking for work. Can you help me?

Dont make your job applications to me directly. I am now deleting emails from people who send their CV directly to me as we should all be professional enough to know not to send a CV directly to a CEO.

Anyone who wants to make an application, can apply directly to the HR department. The related emails to this matter are listed below:

info@tider.org

ik@eko.group

hr@eko.re

info@ekocc.com

cv@vodasoft.com.tr

info@moka.com

28. Winning the Global FoodBanking Network Innovation Award as Tider in March, at that point, how did you stand out from the rest?

This award was amongst 8 different country projects some being England, Singapore, Columbia and Argentina, and over 70 food bank professionals voted for us, which meant we got the most votes and they saw our HR module and support HR worthy of this award. This is important progress and a message that our social assistance system is on its way to change. And this change requires sustainability. Thats why they approved the Human Resource project. The food banks abroad are getting in touch with us to obtain further information. It really is a proud feeling for a CSO. We are able to carry out a system we implemented.

29. What are your goals in the renewable energy sector?

We are always configuring our goals around a successful international framework. We see ourselves as not only solar energy specialists but at the same time, producers of technology. Amongst our upcoming goals, we want to increase our authority in our Ar-Ge studies, to the highest level. Our vision, investments and studies are all being guided in this way. We are aiming to sign on contracts that will bring some sound by EkoRE into the renewable energy area. We are not going to be doing this only by development of technology alone, but by implementing new working models. We really want to develop and bring out a world brand for Turkey.

30. What is the most important item for the Solar energy sectory right now? Can you comment about your main problems? How can you solve these problems?

The main problem of this sector is not doing projects. Beyond the difficulties faced during the licensing and project development period, the solar energy sector has not received the support required. Besides this, the mechanisms put in place haven't been in operation. For example, in 2013 the first licensing of the 600MW that was started, didn't reach success, the licences obtained were not carried out due to financial closures. This also negatively impacted the projects that were brought out last year including the 1 GW (1.000MW) project which accelerated on its own without a licence. Another category developed in the name of YEKA specifically for Turkey. The GES YEKA plan, which was made for December last year, was delayed twice. We will see altogether whether or not Kalyon-Hanwha consortium, who won the legal rights to manage the project, can overcome it.

As a result, we only have one unlicensed project in our hands and the sector has come to a halt. Last year in China, the 23 GW (23.000 MW) project was done, and if we think about the least sunny region with the lowest radiation being Karadeniz, and the established capacity in Germany reaching 40 GW, Turkey has many more roads ahead. We are hoping the authorities of the Solar Energy sector will open up all the roads and possibilities.

 

 

 

 

 

31. Which team do you support in Turkey? Is there a team you support abroad?

The team I support in Turkey is Galatasaray. I am also a member of the Galatasaray club. Naturally, I therefore support Galatasaray in all fields of sport. And because Besiktas is seen as a sibling team, beyond the Galatasaray matches, I support them in all fields. Moreover, as my mother is from Trabzon, I support Trabzon, my father being from Gaziantep, I support Gaziantep, because I did my military service in Denizli, I support Denizli outside and beyond Galatasaray. When these teams however play against each other, I remain impartial and neutral.

Besides these, in basketball I support Anadolu Efes and in volleyball I have sympathy towards the Eczacibasi team. Without separating the Turkish teams from the international games (except for Fenerbahce), I support them all (don’t say this is totally normal, there are enough people in Turkey to be fanatical).

The teams I support abroad are as per below:

Liverpool in England, Roma in Italy, Real Madrid in Spain (although normally they are a very competitive team, I have a big sympathy for Barcelona), Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, Bayern Munich in Germany, Marseille in France, Saprissa in Costa Rica and Boca Juniors in Argentina, which are amongst the teams that I support.

In basketball, I support Chicago Bulls in the NBA league. Moreover, as I studied university in Montreal, I support Montreal Canadians in Ice Hockey and Montreal Impact in the North America Football League (MLS). Don’t be surprised at the amount of teams I support. When you love sports so much and are a world citizen like me, this is what happens :)

32. How did a career that started in banking move to renewable energy?

I’ve always had goals to be a banker since I was a child. I can say my family also had an effect on this. At that time, Kentbank was our family business bank. Therefore, I chose to study finance and accounting at the University in Canada.

I graduated from university and for some time, I worked at the Italian Insurance Company’s General office in America. Then I returned back to my country, and went straight to military service. The day I finished my military service, our bank got seized. Then the legal case for this started. Of course, the career plans I made for myself changed completely. At that time, I promised myself something; if everything went well in 10 years time, the problem was solved and our family business continued to grow, then I will leave and start working on what’s really set in my heart. As a family business, the first thing I did was to open the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Afterwards, for 10 years I found myself in positions such as hotel investing director, project director of the Coca-Cola Iran project, General Manager of Suzer Holding and CEO of KFC and Pizza Hut Turkey firms.

As I promised, 10 years later, I knocked on my father’s door and told him I wanted to leave the company business and start working on what’s really in my heart. It took about 3-4 months to convince him and after we agreed, I invested in Solar energy technology with the money I borrowed from him.

 

33. They say it’s the future energy source. Is the future here? Can Solar energy possible replace petrol and related sources?

Solar energy is no longer the future source. It’s the source of now. Instead of saying Solar energy is coming, we need to say it’s here. From now on, we need to comprehend how mankind can benefit from this further.

Fossils like petrol and natural gas fuels shouldn’t normally be burnt off. These are important sources for us. By burning fossils and producing energy, we are using up this source and also polluting nature. It is becoming a reason for climate change. Instead of this, we need to use these natural sources in production. So we need to use petrol as petrochemical (for recyclable plastic) and natural gas for fertilizer. The following generations will say about us ‘our ancestors did so many bad things in the past. They have not only made the world unlivable, (due to climate changes), but also used up all the natural resources’.

34. In recent times, important enterprises like Markafoni and Bukoil have locked up their doors for good. How does this situation arise?

I know very well how difficult it is for these kinds of enterprises. I can imagine how difficult the working conditions were and the problems they faced. I will write a detailed analysis about this in the future. For now, I will continue about the locks on their doors and advise the main reasons for this as listed below (of course, this list can be added to):

  1. Difficult times for the Turkish economy
  2. The fact that their cash burning rate was never decreasing
  3. The main investor having low tolerance in this and pulling back their support just when it was required
  4. The fact that the finance sector wasn’t supporting the real sector enough, the durations being delayed causing serious problems
  5. Insisting on using the incorrect work models and being closed to change
  6. The fact that these entrepreneurs were not flexible and dynamic enough, not being able to make quick decisions
  7. The 3 main foundations of this are finance, sales & marketing and operations. When one of the 3 falls behind, the setup will eventually suffer serious issues. It’s very important to run the main foundations in the best ways possible.

35. As the Suzer Holding heir, why do you put so much pressure on yourself? Enjoy yourself.

I am enjoying myself. I enjoy myself while I work. When I get to a particular age, I want to be able to say thank God I worked in these areas and made these ventures and started these social entrepreneur projects. That’s why I do all I can in my work life. When I am able to, I try and move my work travel to the weekends, so at least I have one day to get around the area that I am in.

In other aspects, I genuinely get annoyed at the word ‘heir. I’d like to remind you of the paragraph I wrote about this in my previous article titled ‘Macera dolu bir yardim konseri’

Last week, in an interview, I got a question like this ‘does the club society you find yourself in organize high society balls and concerts?’

Of course the word ‘high society’ in this sentence is meaningful. A word we cannot get rid of in our repertoire is ‘despise the rich’, which is in another sense, a meaning for this word. ‘High society’ is the kind of lifestyles we get annoyed by ‘why are these people of no capacity so rich and just blow their money like this, they are dealing with such unnecessary things’. Therefore, this word consolidates this meaning. As high society can have a negative meaning, so can other words. For example, he is actually quite incapable but has come to the places he has because of his father's money, most of the time blowing his money like a spoilt child who is then labeled as an ‘heir’. And no matter what I do, I can’t avoid this word being used in interviews. They infact mentioned me in a published article, television interview and even referred to me as a ‘heir’ from a conference I attended last week. Of course, when they used words like this, it draws attention and increases their ratings. Infact if they think about the fact that for 5.5 years I have been working independently from the family business and have run my own ventures and worked seriously, producing value with my team mates, it would be wrong and rude for them to call me a ‘heir’. The hairs on my arms rise when I get judged and referred to as a ‘heir’ or ‘high society’ member, which are totally opposite to my thought process.

I’d also like to share my life philosophy with you. No one chooses their birth place, parents, family, and the language they speak etc. when they are born. Everyone has a starting point in their life. Some rich, some poor, some full of love, some born into a broken family. The important thing is not how you were born. The important thing is what you had added to if after you were born. This is the difference between where you were born and where you passed away. This shouldn’t just be judged by the money you earn. Some may become a mother and bore 3 fantastic children who will be a benefit to the country. This person would also be someone who lived a really positive life. The person can also be a director of a CSO and having made some serious contributions to humanity. This person is also very positive. Some can also spend their money with pleasure and use it in bad ways. This kind of person definitely has lived a negative life. And some are totally opposite. The power and money they own they use towards developing and progressing humanity and their family. This person is on the plus side, if we go on to think based on this philosophy, for a positive lifestyle, I am doing the best I can. Some may still not understand this but people who are in the same mindset as we are, will understand exactly what I mean.

 

 

 

36. What are your thoughts on Trump’s latest announcement about walking away from the ‘Paris Agreement’?

I have had a friend make very negative comments about trump being elected. And I, in a very cautious way, said this to them: ‘Hold on and wait a little. Let’s not judge from the very beginning. Maybe he will surprise us in a positive way’.

At this point, I see the wishes I had, have not happened.Personally, the credit I gave him, I took back with his announcement of pulling away from the ‘Paris Agreement’. Trump has given our world much damage and is continuing to do so by rejecting climate change issues and by strengthening America’s fossil burning policy. Let’s not forget that with the connection with China, America’s release of carbon, makes them the world’s second country to pollute the world. We were hoping this would change because the atmosphere they pollute is all humanity's and natures atmosphere. People who pollute in this way will go into history’s black books.

37. On the other hand, do you have any thoughts about Canada’s Prime Minister, Trudeau?

Justin Trudeau, unlike Trump, is a politician that’s promising hope. He graduating from McGill University, where I also studied, gives me that extra honor and pride.

However, if I was to be in talks with Justin today, I’d give him this recommendation:

‘Dear Justin, you are a source of pride amongst all the people I met from McGill. A leader like you, gives us a hopeful outlook for the future. However, please don’t any longer be involved in demonstrations. Don’t be like those two-faced politicians that we are used to. While handling the firey topic of climate change, please also guide Canada’s famous petrol industry towards the big fossil fuel industry (Canada is number 6 in the world for petrol production). Fossil fuels are fossil fuels. By burning it, don’t pollute our atmosphere. Fossil fuels are actually an important source. We can value add to this raw material by the use of technology to turn it into produce (like petrochemical) and sell it (these goods need to be of recyclable nature). This way, take the important steps against climate change and also increase the economic input of the country.

38. Why do you remain at the forefront of the foundations you found this much? Why do you do your own PR?

I actually think quite the opposite, as I prefer to have the social ventures I began, to stand on their own feet and from their own identities. In the ventures I have been able to succeed like this, first I turn to my board fulfillment tasks, and then I can completely pullback when I can enable the long term institutionalization.

In the period we are in now, thank God it’s not going bad, we are attaining our goals one by one, however, we need more time for both the corporation to settle and for the finances to come to a point we are happy with. Our dreams are big.

The company and the club society I am responsible for really need me. And I am willing to do whatever it takes and make the sacrifices required. No matter how much I don’t like it, by way of the media, I remain at the forefront. Because in the end, you will eventually get asked ‘who is behind this project?’. And because the media wants ratings, they will focus on publishing the names of known people on headlines, to have their stories read.

My biggest wish is for the firms and establishments I have setup, to in the future, progress on their own accord and own names and be praised on behalf of everyone.

Of course, by achieving their dreams, I'd like this to happen with the use of two very important values ‘respect’ and ‘loyalty’ for the workers and shareholders of the company.

39. Should the council or CSO’s do the food banking?

As in all developing countries, it’s necessary for CSO’s to do the food banking. And the firms doing the food banking need to be unbiased, clear and honest in order to sustain it.

By CSO’s doing this, it helps ease the budget of the council. As a result, the CSO’s can enable donations from the goods, that the public pay for with their own money. But we cannot is more the existence of the councils. The councils real role is to focus on foundation investments. CSOs that engage in food banking can then can contribute with physical location and transportation.

In actual fact, the weight of social assistances like food banking, are heavy. In this case, all players need to take control like CSO’s, then councils and the other public institutes and private sector need to take action.

40. How can the private sector contribute to food banking?

The private sector can contribute by making a donation. This can be a cash donation or goods relief donation (product donation). They can also contribute by other different and creative models. For example, they can choose to come up with an original idea and take over the burden of payroll of some professionals working at the CSO. I think that the private sector players can help assist CSO’s like us to make our world a more liveable place and take over and support the difficult missions outside of the classic cash and good relief donations, come up with creative mechanisms in essence to develop and improve. As long as they want this, they can do it.