İbrahim Erdemoğlu, the Chairman of Erdemoğlu Holding, says “Turkey has not been taken seriously before 2000’s”, "Now we got stronger”. “We get stronger with the presidential system”. "If the political stability continues, the industry will continue to grow."


İbrahim Erdemoğlu , Chairman of Erdemoğlu Holding, to which Merinos Halı is affiliated, made remarkable statements regarding the presidential election. Commenting on the presidential election results to our newspaper, Erdemoğlu says, “I find it extremely important that the people have such an election right”. “But beyond that, there's something we defend our Turkey since the Özal era for politics; We want to have presidential system in Turkey”. “At this point, what we are focusing on is not the individuals but the system”. “At this point, person to be elected by our people should be respected”. “Turkey must pass immediately to the presidential system”. “This is in favor of our country.”


What are your observations for the strongest market in the carpet industry in 2013-2014?

• Turkey is in a leading position in the world leader in the carpet industry. That is to say, 40% of the world production of machine-made carpets produced in Turkey and Gaziantep. The leading company of this is Merinos. I visited a fair in Germany in 1993. When we were a small manufacturer producing with old machines, I saw at the fair that there is a profoundly serious world market. At that time, I thought about why we are so weak in exports although carpet was our culture. And in the first stage, we came together with 16 companies in Gaziantep and established an export company. Since the partnership did not last long, we decided to be the pioneer of this work separately and we first started technological investments in 1996. We explained the way of making business in the world to all carpet makers in Gaziantep. These works progressed rapidly and our share in the world carpet industry is 40% now. While Turkey’s exports were barely 50 million dollars, today we are almost past $2 billion. We have over 50% carpet manufacturers in Gaziantep. All of them have technical staff, R&D group and export group trained by Merinos working for them. We work with the idea that our country shall win, not only our company.




What are the reasons why Turkish carpets are preferred in the world?

In this industry in the world, things you must do are, adjusting the price, providing the quality, and carrying out R&D to suit every market. Because, as in every industry, the American market has a quite different style in the carpet industry. Similarly, in Europe, the Middle East, and Turkey markets also have different styles. At this point, if you identify these differences well and produce accordingly, you will be successful.


How many countries in the world you are in?

Currently we export to 75 countries. And we are in the best position in the countries we export to. We are the producer of 3% of the machine carpets produced in the world.


It is known that you have a mosque constructed.  Can you provide some details?

• When our father started his charity works, the first thing he built was a mosque. He has a mosque built in his name. Recently, our mother has been suggesting that we should build a mosque in her name. We plan to realize her wish in the upcoming period.


How do you evaluate the last presidential election, and Erdogan's election as president?

I find it extremely important that the people have such a right to choose. “But beyond that, there's something we defend our Turkey since the Özal era for politics; We want to have presidential system in Turkey”. “At this point, what we are focusing on is not the individuals but the system”. “At this point, person to be elected by our people should be respected”. When we look at the successful periods in history of our Republic, there are 4 periods: Atatürk period, Menderes period, Özal period and Tayyip Erdoğan period. The political structure of these four periods is different from each other. But there is a common point; they all succeed when in power alone. When we consider Turkey, it has enjoyed success with government providing power alone and stability. In this situation, if we do not want it to be disrupted by coalition systems in the future, we need to urgently switch to the presidential system.


Why do you care so much about the presidential system?

We must switch to the presidential system because this situation is in favor of our country in every aspect. I have a determination as follows; As we go to the Northern regions in Ecuador, people come up with more obeying rules and harmonious types. But as we come from the North to the Equator, people appear more rebellious and the type that accepts what he says is true. When we consider the position of Turkey at the equatorial belt, it is a country where everyone wants to be ruled individually as he/she desires. As a proverb says, those with a lot of roosters will wake up early in the morning. Not like either America or France. During such periods, i mean coalition periods, Turkey was not successful. It achieved economic, social, and cultural success during the period of governments that were in power alone. If we do not want coalitions and fragmented images in Turkey, it is imperative to switch to the presidential system.



How people abroad perceive Turkey?

They did not take Turkey seriously before the 2000s. However, in recent times, they started to take Turkey more seriously.  Özal was directing the businessmen of his time abroad to see the world and to do business with the world. The fact that this situation, which started at that time, accelerated in the last 10-12 years, has made us a nation that has spread all over the world. We came from a society that sent workers to a position that settled abroad as a businessman.

We encounter economic crisis from time to time. Turkey is among the countries that have not affected. What do you attribute this situation to?

It is a situation related to the strength and stability of the government. If you do your homework well, manage properly and be united, the external factors cannot affect you. If you solve your troubles and the seeds of discord that are wanted to be spread to the society with your unity, you will not be affected by these situations.



Do you think there are problems in Turkish carpet industry, if any, what are those?

As a company, we are not a whining company.  We are aware that negativities can be experienced from time to time. At this point, we prefer to be the solution-generating side when there are problems.


There was news that your employees are not allowed to pray. What will you say?

These are completely misunderstandings. We are Anatolian people. We are a group that respects our culture, values, and beliefs. In other words, let alone the situation of allowing or not, we are the only company or one of the rare companies that put a service system in Friday prayers and take their employees to the mosque. Besides that, there is an easy place for them to perform their daily prayers.


In which years Turkey experienced the biggest leap in exports?

• We can say that it happened in the 2000s. But this has an infrastructure. In 1993, I visited many parts of the world and tried to understand the markets in the world and what they wanted, and we made our productions accordingly. We worked as a team with all companies in Gaziantep.

Is the country's politics and stable government important in the increase of exports?

First of all, companies working for such purposes have to do their part. Stable politics have a positive effect on our business. The increase in Turkey's credibility in the context of international relations based on the country we went to 12 years ago are important situation. Stability must go hand in hand with business.  The fact that only one of them works is not a complete success.



Newspaper Akit

September 5, 2014


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