Chobani founder donates $2 million for Kobane

Chobani founder donates $2 million for Kobane

Tolga Tanış – Washington
Chobani founder donates $2 million for Kobane

Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani Greek Yogurt in the US, is awarded the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year 2013. Company photo

Turkey-born Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of the U.S.-based Chobani Greek Yogurt, has donated $2 million for Kobane, the Kurdish town besieged by jihadists on Syria’s border with Turkey.

“I’m not interested in the political aspect of the situation or whoever plays what game. Either we will be watching the massacre there and will live on with a guilty conscience or we will save people,” the 42-year-old Kurdish businessman told Hürriyet.

Ulukaya, who quickly skyrocketed to the top of the business world in the U.S., where he arrived in the 1990s and founded Chobani in 2007, warned Kobane now faces the risk of a massacre. “We will deliver the aid to NGOs in the region. It is not clear who we will choose yet, but we’re talking to everybody active on the ground. We also want local NGOs to reach us through All applications will be evaluated throughout October,” he said.

In June, Ulukaya had dedicated his Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 award first to the fellowship of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples and the peace between them, and then to the U.S. “I have two homelands, one where I was born, my beautiful country, Turkey; the other is the U.S., where I made my dreams come true,” Ulukaya said at the ceremony. 

“While making this personal donation, I hope to encourage others to support the people of Kobane in the face of this drama. I want everyone to see this incident as a human,” he told Hürriyet.

After stressing that he is surprised to witness the inaction of the world, Ulukaya added:

“We are the people of Anatolia. We should consider Kobane the way that we helped Somalia and other places in need. There are Turkmens, Yazidis and Kurds in Kobane. All ethnic groups are waiting for help.”