Ekrem DEMİRTAŞ

1946, Mugla, Izmir, Turkiye

After completing his high school education at Kabatas Male High School, he graduated from Izmir Academy of Economic and Commercial Sciences, Department of Trade and Industry.

From 1970 to 1974 he worked as a manager in Izmir.  In 1974 he established his own company, constructing business centres, residential complexes and selling wholesale construction items as well as the importing and exporting of foodstuffs.

His company constructed the Builders Market in Yenisehir, Modeko, the south market of the  Bati Trade Centre,  İTOKENT and  Siraselviler, housing estates and ITOB industrial zone.

Since 1981, he has been a council member of the Izmir Chamber of Commerce.

Having been elected Chairman of the Board for the Izmir Chamber of Commerce in 1992, he has held this position for the past 19 years.

During his chairmanship, he has forged good relations with the neighbouring countries of Turkiye, creating trading opportunities and has made significant contributions to tourism in Izmir. He was instrumental in the promotion of Izmir as a Trademark and World City through the areas of trade, sports and publicity.

He executed the first ‘’Foundation’’ establishment in Trade Associations in 1998. He is still Chairman of the Board of the Izmir Chamber of Commerce Education and Health Foundation.  Under the auspices of this foundation, in 2001, he established IZMIR UNIVERSITY of ECONOMICS, which is the first university of Turkiye to be specialised in economics and the first Foundation University of Izmir.  He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the university which has more than 6500 students and is an English medium university.

He is the founder and Chairman of the Izmir Organized Trade and Manufacture Zone (ITOB) which is built on an area of 2500 acres with 387 building plots.

He is the founder and Director of the Aegean Free Trade Zone (ESBAŞ) and a Board member of the Izmir Development Agency.

He established ELDA Beverage and Energy Inc. which was the first private company to produce Rakı in Turkey (Efe Rakı).  He is still Chairman of the Board of this company.

Furthermore, by establishing successful companies such as IZAIR, the first regional airline in Turkiye, and others specialising in wine and organic agriculture; he has added significant brand names to the economy of Izmir and Turkiye.

In 2008 he was granted an award by the Greek Government for his contributions to Turkish-Greek relations.  He was nominated for the Order of Merit by the Italian Government as a result of his important work relating to Turkish-Italian relations.  For the extraordinary steps he has taken in promoting good relations between the two countries, he was knighted by the Italian Prime Minister and President in 2009.   As a result of the contributions he has made to Turkish-US relations and commerce, he was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the US Ministry of Commerce in 2010.