Interview with Ceyda Carmikli, Nurol REIT, Turkey

The Carmikli family has been in business for as long as they can all remember. Eyüp Sabri Carmikli instilled business acumen in his three children, Nurretin, Erol and Oguz, who grew up around his haberdashery and contracting business. In 1966, the second generation founded the Nurol Group, gradually expanding it into a conglomerate spanning technology, energy, real estate, construction, steel and banking. The Carmikli family still sit on the various boards and committees of the group of companies and continue to champion their growth and prosperity.

Tharawat sat down with Ceyda Carmikli, Executive Board Member of Nurol REIT, the real estate division of the holding company, and discussed strategic turning points in the business history, female leadership and the state of the market.

Your established family business, Nurol Holding, has recently turned 50. What values have brought you this far?

The close bond between family members, the strong level of trust, comfort and commitment, is company culture. It is what makes working with family great. One of our biggest achievements, and what brings us immense pride, is treating our employees like kin. They are also part of this large family.

Our success and growth is the outcome of hard work and determination. Working diligently in any department or position brings progress to the entire company. The third generation is currently working towards the development of the company. Growing into an international firm and maintaining trustworthiness and quality after 50 years in business, motivates us to keep going and to continue being honest in what we do.

Nurol Tower interior
Image courtesy of Nurol Holding

Can you share your insight on female leadership in such a male-dominated industry like construction and contracting?

Stand out by being outstanding! That’s the best way to put it.

Today, the face of organisational hierarchies is changing and becoming more accommodating to women in upper-level managerial positions. It wasn’t always like this though. Women have had to prove themselves, time and time again, to be noticed and acknowledged as equals to men.

Gender shouldn’t be the determining factor in one’s ability to perform a task. Your knowledge, skill and talent should speak for themselves. The NAWIC reported that women make up 8.9 percent of workers in the construction industry. It may be a very small figure but at least it’s improving. Women are slowly but surely paving their way into leadership roles. It makes me very happy to consider myself as having played a part in this movement.

I was fortunate enough to have my family. They trusted me to take their company, their pride and joy, forward as the Executive Board Member of Nurol REIT. I’d like to believe I’ve proven my worth through my efforts and keen business insights that have brought the company forward as an industry leader.

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Ceyda Carmikli, Nurol REIT
Image courtesy of Nurol Holding

Nurol REIT has many projects in the development phase and has also successfully gone global. Do you feel the Turkish market has recovered from the financial crisis? How does internationalisation play into this?

The real estate market is currently booming in Turkey. If it is not back to the same state it was in, then it’s definitely getting there. Turkey has implemented the reciprocity law, giving foreign investors the same rights as local investors. The law has brought an influx of international interest. As a result, many real estate companies, especially Turkish real-estate companies, have set-up offices in different parts of the world to manage international clientele.

We currently have a lot of projects underway, the three most important being the mixed-use residential projects Nurol Park, Nurol Life and Nurol Tower. We have received immense international interest in these projects, which is why we are welcoming Middle Eastern investors. We are one of the oldest, most highly acclaimed and leading conglomerates in Turkey, and have gained a lot of foreign interest because of this reputation. It is important to mention, however, that having a business grow internationally and having the initial founding-family retain power is not an easy task and must be carefully managed.

Tharawat Magazine, Issue 28, 2015