The ethics of money
Our pepital. They remember those businessmen who they have benefited from and who have pledged themselves to society with respect. Otherwise, the names of Vehbi Koç, Sakıp Sabancı, İzzet Baysal and Kadir Has would not be in our minds, businesspeople who have found their way in many people’s hearts because of the hospitals, schools and museums they have built.
There are other businesspeople who are involved in efforts to find solutions for social problems. For example, the founders of TEMA, Hayrettin Karaca and Nihat Gökyiğit. Or the TOG, who was founded by retired bank CEO İbrahin Betil.
Koç Group Head Ali Koç has also started initiatives to increase the recognition of the Global Principles Compact.
I have personally seen how the Hüsnü Özyeğin Foundation has contributed to the transformation of rural areas with the philosophy “development is a basic human right.”
I must also count the group that I work with. The “Daddy, Send Me to School” campaign has led to the construction of dozens of dormitory buildings and schools, while providing educational scholarships for more than 10,000 girls. Similarly, the Domestic Violence hotline has supported more than 41,000 domestic violence victims since 2007.
This is in our tradition. In the Ottoman Empire, foundations constituted the basic institutional mechanisms in such public services as education, health and social security. Today, Turkish society is transforming into a more participatory, charitable structure than the classic approach.
The social responsibility concept is quite popular in our country. Yes, many companies promote themselves through them, but nevertheless their contribution to society, human rights, gender equality and the environment is important.
On one side, the situation is like this. On the other side, there is another type of capital that has shut down the door of conscience, that terrorizes local people with batons, that kicks and handcuffs people in the place where it plans to make its investments.
I am talking about the company that has massacred 6,000 olive trees in Yırca for the power plant they want to build while the locals are crying a river.
I don’t think society will fondly remember these companies and their owners.
The company in question has listed the basic values of its social responsibility awareness on its website. I will not go into that.
Even though the “Socially Responsible Investment” concept is not widely adopted in our country, it is obvious that this company and other like-minded companies are the ones that fall furthest from this concept.
The investments we have seen in recent years have been processed in a bloodthirsty manner, even though they were justified in line with the fact that “our country is growing and developing.” Meanwhile, these investments have actually been discrediting capital.
Most importantly, they take people’s lives, deprive them of their land, break their hearts, hurt and leave them desperate.
Local people are crying in Yırca, Soma, Murgul, Ergene, Fatsa, Akyaka, Karaman and Boğazpınar, everywhere across the country. When you add all these local people together you have the people of Turkey. Do not underestimate them; small is the seed of greatness.
You will leave your money to your children. Future generations will either remember you or not. This is the story.