Image Salih Memecan

Sakıp Sabancı's own words

My late father always advised us to be in good terms with soldiers. In Adana, he would be either at our factory or our farm, if not at the Officers Club where he found endless pleasure in socializing with the commanders and always would encourage us to do so. Once we were driving in a cab in Paris when we saw a Turkish lieutenant on the street, he asked “Is that a Turkish lieutenant, son? As soon as he heard the answer “yes,” he rushed out of the car, ran directly to the lieutenant, and gave him a hug. It makes me laugh each time I remember the way the very puzzled and baffled lieutenant pushed him back with his two hands. I still remember his insistence on having a dinner together with this lieutenant. This is how I have become who I am now.During the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation, the Turkish Navy Forces needed more landing crafts. For this reason, after the military coup in 1980, empowerment foundations were established in all three forces of the Turkish Military to provide financial support. I was invited to be a member of the Turkish Navy Forces Empowerment Foundation. I was honored. I attended the Turkish Navy Commandership meetings on a regular basis. Zahit Atakan, the Vice Admiral at the time, asked me to be the President of the Turkish Navy Forces Empowerment Foundation. He strongly believed that civilians more than soldiers should decide how to make use of public donations. I gladly accepted this honor. I must confess I was both surprised and proud to see how those eminent commanders valued the civilians’ ideas during the meetings where the discipline, order, and the sincere loyalty in the chain of command were always felt. At meetings after the needs of the Navy at all levels were studied, reported, and discussed meticulously, the necessary amount of resources was allocated. Before some of our projects were actualized, all the Turkish Armed Forces empowerment foundations were united under the name of Turkish Armed Forces Empowerment Foundations along with the resources gathered by each individual foundation. During my Turkish Navy Forces Empowerment Foundation Presidency, restoration of the yacht Savarona, which was filled with memories of our great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and had been burned in a sabotage in 1980–was discussed for a few times. None of us could turn a blind eye to the possibility that this yacht might turn into razor blades just like Battleship Yavuz which was produced in Germany for Ottoman Empire and then she brought Turkey into World War I on the German side.I discussed the issue in detail with the mayor of İstanbul at that time, Bedrettin Dalan. I tried to find ways of converting the restoration of the Savorana yacht into an Ataturk Museum. The creation of a library of books about Ataturk and preserving his belongings in the yacht were discussed. I would feel deep pain when I would remember having received a letter opener as a gift was made out of the Battleship Yavuz planks. I was trying my best not to let the Savarona have the same fate as had Yavuz. During my USA visits, I saw some battleships well known to Americans because of their bravery in history. They were all tied to piers and open to visitors. I also had a chance to visit them. I strongly believed in the importance of turning the Savarona yacht into a museum where the Great Leader of Turkey had spent the last days of his life. Unfortunately, I failed to actualize this dream. Later on, it was a relief to hear that Kahraman Sadikoglu had bought the yacht and, after renovations, started using it for tourism purposes. However, I am still very sorry that I couldn`t turn the Savarona into a museum.