Our Founder

AKİF KOPUZ (1923-2007)

Akif Kopuz would emphasize the founding principle of the Kopuzlar Group of Companies with the following words:

"Hard work is the most auspicious capital."

Akif Kopuz’s principles in his own words:

  • When one works harder, there will remain no obstacles that cannot be overcome. It is necessary to strive and persevere.
  • Trust is very important in trade.
  • Our customers are our benefactors.
  • I advise my fellow industrialists to always think about upcoming stormy days whilst planning their company finances and structures.
  • It is a mistake to solely rely on the domestic market for the sales of the products we produce. If we do not strive to develop our internal human resources and technologies, and to produce quality products in order to open ourselves to the world and achieve export success, hard times await us.


  • Akif Kopuz was born in 1923 in the Gündoğdu District of Rize, a city along the Black Sea coast of Turkey. He started trading with his father and siblings at a very young age. At the age of only 16, after a 9-day 9-night journey on the Cumhuriyet Vapuru (Republic Ferry), leaving behind the limited opportunities present in Rize, he arrived in Istanbul to take advantage of the beneficial economic circumstances the city provided.
  • One year after arriving in Istanbul, he stepped into a life of commerce by opening a retail market of the name “Kısmet Pazarı” in Istanbul’s Maçka district.
  • He entered the internal trade, transportation and commission business sectors by founding a company under the name of “Yeşil Rize Ambarı” in a rental shop in the Unkapanı Yağ İskelesi (Unkapanı Oil Pier), a company he would later register with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce in 1959.
  • He continued his business life by establishing Akif Kopuz Dahili Ticaret Şirketi (Akif Kopuz Internal Trade Company) in a Kazlıçeşme warehouse rented from the Ottoman Bank. The company went on to become Turkey’s largest rawhide wholesaler.
  • He entered the building and real estate sector in 1978 with Kopuzlar İnşaat.
  • Following the success of his construction and trade businesses, he took his first steps into the industry and manufacturing sectors by establishing Kopuzlar Deri Sanayi ve Tic. A.Ş. in Kazlıçeşme. He continued this industrialisation effort by acquiring all shares of the originally multi-partner Lifli Rulo company and merging it into the group.
  • He made significant contributions towards the founding of the Istanbul Industry and Trade Free Zone and became the second largest shareholder of the founder and operating company DESBAŞ. He continued his investments with the Kopuzlar Dış Ticaret ve Pazarlama (Kopuzlar Foreign Trade and Marketing) and Kopuzlar Dış Ticaret (Kopuzlar Foreign Trade) companies which he founded within the free zone.
  • Akif Kopuz, who later transferred his position on the board of directors to his sons Fethi, Celal and Gürkan Kopuz, continued his duties in many non-governmental organizations.
  • He actively participated in the Istanbul Chamber of Industry and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce for many years.
  • He served as the vice-president of the Istanbul Commodity Exchange for many years.
  • He pioneered the establishment of the Kopuzlar Foundation.