Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 1
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.