By HUSNIYE GUNGOR
IT IS not easy to predict how expat life will change in the post-COVID period but the experience of tele-working seems to be opening a new window into business life, in which mobility will be at the center. As individuals and companies lean more into cutting their budgets due to uncertainties in global trade during the pandemic, countries like Turkey may be an affordable alternative for relocation. And for those who are considering living in Turkey, the ‘drawing room’ is ready.
There to greet potential arrivals are three sisters who have taken on the male-dominated world of international transport. “Those that have not lived abroad before cannot know the difficulties of living in a foreign country,” says Asya Nakliyat and Bedel Mobility Solutions CEO Ebru Demirel. “That is why our team consists of the professionals who have lived and worked abroad previously.” This provides the company with the experience to empathize with customers during this transition period.
Founded by their father Ilhan Demirel in 1963, Asya Nakliyat initially started working with embassies. Cultural departments of the Italian, German and UK missions were occasionally bringing in exhibitions to Ankara. The company began by transporting the art pieces for these exhibitions. “We have developed in this field with the increasing demand and art activities in the country over time,” says Demirel. The company today has 30 years of experience in fine art logistics, providing warehouse services in covered storage spaces in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Adana.
3 SISTERS IN A MALE-DOMINATED SECTOR
Demirel joined the family business in 1992 and took over the company’s chairmanship in 2013. Running the company with her two sisters, Hulya and Banu, the sisters have proven that the transport industry is not an exclusively male purview. In 2019, Ebru Demirel was elected the first woman chairperson in the history of the International Transport Federation (FIDI), the largest global alliance of international moving and relocation companies, with members in over 100 countries. All FIDI affiliated companies have the FAIM Quality label, which is the most stringent and comprehensive quality standard for the international relocation industry, regularly audited by an independent third-party, EY. Demirel will continue her duty until the general meeting to be held in France in 2021.
Because they used to work with embassies back in the early years in Ankara, the company has been offering relocation services from the beginning. In 1996, they founded Bedel Mobility Solutions with the goal to become an efficient and established company in the relocation and immigration services sector. “In 2002, we established our office in Istanbul, expanded our offices and made Istanbul our head office,” Demirel explains. Following the establishment of the Izmir office, the company can now provide services to all cities in Turkey through many solution partners.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN SOMEONE’S LIFE
“Settling down in a new country brings a variety of difficulties. •ur field of specialization includes understanding these difficulties and the obstacles that individuals or corporate customers coming to live in Turkey might face during the relocation process,” Demirel says, “•ur goal is to support them, to help them overcome such obstacles, to give rapid responses to the questions they have regarding daily life and offer them special service packages to meet their individual needs.”
Bedel Mobility Solutions provides services on a wide range of issues including learning legal procedures, getting to know the city, finding a house, finding a school and adapting to social life, as well as generating solutions that can make a difference in an expat’s life.
PART OF A GLOBAL NETWORK
“We can fully customize our services based on the needs of our customers in line with global mobility principles and policies of the companies of the customers,” says Demirel. Working continuously with 40 big corporate companies, Bedel Mobility Solutions is a member of ERC and •NE Group and EuRA organization, of which the biggest relocation companies in the world are a member, and is the only Turkish company that has EuRA Quality Seal. The company is also registered in C•RT Global Network, the biggest item rental company in the world. Membership in these global networks are essential, as Demirel notes, since the purchase operations of international companies are mostly done from the global headquarters.
EXPATS ARE LEAVING SINCE 2016
Speaking about the trends in the relocation sector, Demirel says that their work load increased after the coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. People started to leave the country, mostly highly educated Turks with young children and good careers. “On the foreigners side, there were scenes like people had just turned down the stove and left the house immediately in panic,” Demirel recalls. By 2018, the figures started to fall and expectations about 2020 was also low, she adds, “C•VID 19 made doing business even harder.”
This resulted in turning to the domestic market as art events also came to a halt due to the pandemic. The company has just launched a price request platform named nakliyefiyati.com to get a share from the 80 million-person domestic market.
HOSTING ANDY WARHOL
Asya Nakliyat, which was established to move art for events at embassies in Ankara, is one of the most important companies in international fine art storage, handling and transportation. When the biennial first started in 1987, Asya Nakliyat had already been shipping art pieces for years. Then Pera Museum, Istanbul Modern, Salt, various collectors, the Ministry of Culture, famous artists and art galleries were added to the customer portfolio. One recently transport projects was the overseas galleries coming to Contemporary Istanbul. The company was responsible for all transportation processes of the art works.
ANATOLIA: HOUSE OF ETERNITY
One of the longest running operations of Asya Nakliyat in art transportation was Europalia Culture and Art Festival, Europe’s most prestigious culture and arts festival, in 2015, for which Turkey was invited as the guest country. Asya Nakliyat transported some 255 art works, most of which have never been displayed, from 30 different museums in Turkey to Belgium for an exhibition titled “Anatolia: House of Eternity” during the festival.
WE SEE MORE TURKS RELOCATING ABROAD
Asya Nakliyat and Bedel Mobility Solutions CEO Ebru Demirel says the trends in mobility is changing independently of the post-COVID period. More people are moving abroad and are taking with them less or smaller scale belongings. “Book shelves, DVDs and CDs are not seen anymore. As technology, consumer goods and oil companies hire more Turks to send abroad, we see more Turkish expats relocating in the last 20 years,” she adds. Turkish young professionals apply more for international positions and leave for other countries. Starting in 2017, fewer companies are making Turkey a regional center, Demirel notes.
RELOCATING CHEAT SHEET
>> Hire a moving company
>> Read over documents before signing anything and create a moving file with all receipts
>> Arrange moving insurance
>> Purge unwanted belongings
>> Request transcripts for your kids from their old school
>> Gather all financial and legal records in one place
>> Make sure you have all your documents when travelling (birth certificate, passport, marriage and divorce certificates, and diploma) and carry important documents in person during your move
>> Pay all your bills and update your address for subscriptions and forward your mail
>> Apply for tax number and open bank account at destination
>> Arrange health insurance