First of all, I am personally against the impresion of business life is separate than personal and social life. This is why this interview focuses on Mr. Coskun’s first hand life story and how his experiences had shaped his working life. We talked more about his life experiences and their positive impact on his business life instead of traditional carrier questions. To sum up, he talked and I listened.
Balon Kafe is a cafe in Kadıköy that I like spending my time in. I prefered to do this interview with Mr. Coskun since he spends his days on the field unlike his colleagues, his spectacular relations with clients, his energy, and his approach to his employees had driven my attention to him.
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Can you tell us about your childhood?
was born in Besiktas village in Ardahan. I grew up in a barn. I really did. Our living room was the only room which attached to barn through a hall. We grew up there as ten siblings. We took showers in the barn since it was a warm place. My father was a partner of a small restaurant in Kars. There were lots of tribe conflicts at that time and the reasons of them were mostly silly things like animals pass to another farm or something like that. These incidents happened a lot at that time, however, they almost ended these days. Yet, we lost our uncle’s children at that time and my mother insisted on to move in to Kars, near our father. We had to sold our properties in the village to do that.
I started to elementary school in Kars but I didn’t know Turkish. My teacher had asked me a chalk, yet I misunderstood it and brought clothes which led me to got beaten by my uncle due to complaint of my teacher. On that very day I had promised myself that I was going to learn Turkish better than that teacher.
When I was in fifth class, I met with philosophy which made my class consciousness occurs. In 1980, when military coup happened, I got in to jail and I got tortured for 2 and a half months when I was only 16 year-old. All my fault was saying “Down with fascism, long live independent Turkey”.
-How was your university period?
I got admitted to Marmara University Tourism and Hotel Management, and dropped out school when I was in 3rd class. There were two reasons for these: Economical and political.We were four brothers who were studying at university and fifth brother had the same intention. One of my brother was studying Medicine in Istanbul Capa Tip Faculty, whilst other two were in their engineer education in METU and the other one was in Yildiz Technical University. I met our family council one day and talked to them: “My father taught me how to love and show respect. Books I have read and life itself taught me how to talk. I can be a cafe manager but it’s not easy to become an engineer or doctor.” I started to work days and nights without having a break. In the mornings I was working in restaurants and in bars at nights. They weren’t enough and I started to sell scotch and cigarettes. One of my client was in textile business and I started to sell goods in street trading. We sold t-shirts on weekends with my brothers. We sold socks on holidays in bazaars. In the mean time, I kept continued on restaurant managing and helped all my brothers getting their diplomas.
We bought a nut field and harvest them with all family members and sold them. This is what success look like. No one gets success without working for it. Later on, we kept working all together as a family. Since my older brother was a doctor, everyone in our family...