CEO Message

7 min

Dear Colleagues,

On February 6, 2023, our country was shaken by one of the biggest natural disasters in our history.  The earthquake disaster, which directly affected ten of our provinces and caused unimaginable destruction in some of our city centres has left us heartbroken.

We are mourning tens of thousands of our fellow citizens who lost their lives.  As a group we lost 12 colleagues, 5 dealers and 32 of our employees working in our dealerships.  It is not at all easy to describe the extent of our distress.  I wish God’s mercy to our colleagues and all our citizens who lost their lives, my condolences and the strength to bear it to our country and a speedy recovery to the injured.

The earthquake disaster has left painful scars which will not be eradicated for many years to come.

As Koç Group we have, since that first day, been working comprehensively with Koç Holding, our companies, Vehbi Koç Foundation and VKV Health Institutions to heal the wounds of our country and reach those in need quickly.  We came together in a spirit of mobilization and solidarity. We rushed to the aid of our people by activating all of our means in coordination with the relevant public institutions and organisations.

In the first instance, our priority was to rescue our citizens alive from under the rubble and to send emergency supplies to the earthquake area quickly.  We took part in search and rescue operations in cooperation with AFAD.  A total of 531 of our trained and well-equipped colleagues took part in the rescue efforts, saving lives of 117 of our citizens.

Through the crisis centre we set up at Koç Holding we are able to closely track all the needs in the region.  We have met the need for shelter of 787 of our colleagues and 2,446 of their family members who have been affected by the earthquake.  We are standing by them all.

Also, our Koç Group companies, working together with the relevant public institutions, identify and continue to meet urgent needs in the disaster zone according to the requests received from the field by our crisis centre.
We are grateful to our colleagues, public officials and volunteer citizens who took part in either search and rescue operations or who worked with great devotion in the field or in our company headquarters.

As Koç Group, we are working together to heal the wounds of the earthquake disaster. In the attachment, I share with you a summary of the aid provided by each of our companies so far.

The amount of aid we have provided so far to meet urgent needs has passed 200 million TL.

In addition, we continue to provide the financial support needed by our business partners and customers in the region.

In the coming period, we have allocated a further 1.8 billion TL for the projects we will carry out within the scope of providing shelter, health, education and supporting children affected by the earthquake. So, with what we have done so far, we have allocated a total of 2 billion TL to our project-based aid.

In the areas identified by the Government, we will create temporary living quarters consisting of 5 thousand containers, housing nearly 20,000 people, including social amenities. We also started to work on the container health centre project, to include the necessary equipment.

In addition, using our trucks, we will continue to meet the hot food, laundry and cleaning needs in the region.
We are aware that just allocating financial resources will not be enough to heal the wounds of such a terrible disaster.

We will harness the expertise and experience of our workforce consisting of 110 thousand people so that we can quickly complete all stages of our project from the design of the aid project to implementation in the field.
As we did until now, we will use all our resources to normalise and develop economic life in the region. As always we stand by our business partners in the region.  On this subject, we encourage all our stakeholders with whom we work both at home and abroad to support the region.

As our late founder Vehbi Koç said “We exist as long as our state and country exists.” We will decisively do our part to heal the wounds of this terrible earthquake disaster as we have strived to provide support for the last 97 years.  I wholeheartedly believe that we will overcome these difficult days together and in solidarity.

Best regards,
Levent Çakıroğlu