The Star of Our Republic Continues to Shine on the 100th Anniversary
The Star of Our Republic Continues to Shine on the 100th Anniversary

The Star of Our Republic Continues to Shine on the 100th Anniversary


100 years… A century that started with great challenges, continued with efforts to rebuild a whole country despite poverty, and today has entered a period of change and transformation through technology, innovation, new lifestyles and business models.

As we celebrate the centenary of the Republic of Turkey, we, as the Ülker Family, are proud to have served our country and generated economic value in the 80 years of these 100 years. 

My late grandfather had delivered a message short before his passing, on the occasion of entering a new millennium: “We grew up with the opportunities provided by the Republic. We studied, worked, earned our living, and established our business thanks to the Republic.”

Throughout the journey that started in 1944 with the Ülker brand, we now have many brands, 75 thousand employees, 4 billion consumers, and 46 factories – all united under Yıldız Holding. So, it is actually true that we grew stronger thanks to the opportunities provided by the Republic, because the word “Republic” also means loyalty, patriotism, and hard work to us.

As Yıldız Holding, we continue to work with these feelings of loyalty and patriotism, while also devising the future. Building a republic from scratch is a long journey. We cannot understand it simply by looking at the past and today. The only way to be worthy of the Republic of Turkey is to look at the future as well. That is why I would like to first summarize the journey up until today and then share our vision for the future.

1923, the year in which our Republic was founded, was not an easy one. It was not only about changing the regime, but it also required building a new system in every area – from economy to education, healthcare, and transportation. However, our country was weary due to long years of wars. It was a period when there was almost no production and people lacked even the simplest things like needles. In 1927, there were around 65 thousand manufacturing companies and most of them were micro-scale. There weren’t many educated people. The whole country had only 11 universities and these were all inherited from the Ottoman Empire.

Established under such circumstances, the Republic launched a fast development program. During these years, Ülker started its operations in 1944, in the dark period of World War II. My late grandfather and great uncle Sabri and Asım worked very hard to take the Ülker brand beyond İstanbul and to reach the whole country. There were times when they had to drive biscuit trucks themselves to reach the stores all around Anatolia or they had to visit every store to find raw materials for production. While telling me about those days, my grandfather used to say that his shoes wore out every three months due to constantly running from here to there and he had to have the soles repaired regularly.
This is how Yıldız Holding, the shining star of Turkey and the world was founded. And this is how our country reached these days of glory as opposed to the poverty in 1923.
Let me give you some data to describe where we stand today:

  • As of 2021, there are over 2 million manufacturing businesses (as opposed to 65 thousand in 1927).
  • As of 2022, there are 208 universities throughout Turkey (as opposed to 11 in 1923).
  • There are approximately 7 million students and 185 thousand academics at universities.
  • The number of technoparks reaches 98 and there are 1581 R&D and design centers.
  • Our exports exceed USD 250 billion.

Having accompanied and contributed to the 80 years of this successful journey, Yıldız Holding continues to grow uninterruptedly. Our business that started in 1944 with the Ülker brand now unites tens of valuable global brands under the roof of Yıldız Holding. Thanks to our power of exports, we go beyond boundaries, represent Turkey abroad, and reach 4 billion people globally. We contribute to the national economy and employment through our commercial operations and to technological development through our R&D initiatives. We employed 30 thousand new people within the last 5 years despite the pandemic. We work ceaselessly with 65 thousand employees in Turkey and a total of 75 thousand globally.
Our contribution to Turkey is not limited to commercial operations. As Yıldız Holding, we support technological enterprises with financing and experience transfer, we invest in R&D and facilities, we work together with many food cooperatives. We generate added value in technology by exporting advances such as Mobis and the software we developed for Ülker’s field sales operations. We also work hard to reduce dependence on imports for certain products and raw materials.

In line with our principle of equal opportunities, we cooperate with international organizations such as UN Women and launch initiatives to support female entrepreneurs, because we attach great importance to further inclusion of women in the economy in the second century of our Republic. We offer internships, trainings, and employment to young people. We invest in education, sports, arts, and healthcare to build a healthier society. We support public health through our Sabri Ülker Foundation in İstanbul and Sabri Ülker Center for Metabolic Research at Harvard University – a globally prestigious educational institution.

These are what we achieved within the 80 years of the century of our Republic, and we aim for many more in the new century. We live in a different world now. Today, Turkey is a member to G20. As you know, G20 is an international platform that includes the world’s greatest 19 economies and the European Union. We are delighted to see that our country has a lot stronger presence abroad. The whole world knows Turkey not only in terms of its economy, but also in health tourism, arts, military capacity, and education. We heal hundreds of thousands of foreign patients every year. There are over 300 thousand foreign students in our universities. 

And a more technology-focused journey awaits us in the second century of the Republic. The #NationalTechnologyMove adopted and introduced by the Ministry of Industry and Technology is a major step. This move covers new initiatives in Smart Transportation, Agriculture and Food, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Energy and Climate, Communication, Aerospace, Software, Defense, and Aviation. We will manufacture our own wind turbines, batteries, industrial robots, next generation satellites, smart trains, and many other technological products and services. With mega projects, we will build new transportation networks, hospitals, robust infrastructure, and superstructure based on the needs of the society.

We will all work harder and achieve greater things in the New Century of our Republic. We will cover even a greater distance than we have in the last 100 years and do whatever is necessary for this precious legacy. Yıldız Holding works to that end. May we celebrate many more centuries together!