Islam, Capitalism Reconciled in Anatolia

Reconciling religion and thriving business, Turkey's central Anatolia region is setting a good example that Islam, capitalism and globalization can be compatible, as the Muslim but secular country is still knocking at the European Union's door, The New Yo

Islam, Capitalism Reconciled in Anatolia

"In European countries, workers take a 15-minute smoking break; here we take a 15-minute prayer break," said Ahmet Herdem, the mayor of Hacilar, a town of 20,000 people in central Anatolia.

"During this time, you are in front of God, and you can ask him to help improve business and this is good for morale."

Business leaders in the region attribute their bustling business to an entrepreneurial spirit that they say is also part of Islam, the paper said.

People in Hacilar do not have enough time to go to the town's only café as they are often busy striking lucrative deals elsewhere.

In a city like Kayseri, most companies set aside rooms for prayer and unlike elsewhere in Turkey, few of the city's restaurants serve alcohol.

"If you're not a good Muslim, don't pray five times a day and don't have a wife who wears a head scarf, it can be difficult to do business here," said Halil Karacavus, the managing director of the Kayseri sugar factory, one of the biggest Turkish businesses, which expects revenues this year of 500 million euros, or about $640 million.

"Calvinist Islam"

The region's mix of Muslim values, hard work and raging capitalism has even prompted sociologists to coin a new term to describe the phenomenon: Calvinist Islam, the Times said.

"It is good for a religious person to work hard, to save, to invest in the community," said Herdem.

He said many entrepreneurs have modeled themselves after Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as an honest and devoted Muslim trader.

The region has produced some of the best-known Turkish companies, which invaded international markets.

Textile companies are producing clothing for fashion houses in Paris and Milan, while sheep farmers now share land with giant furniture manufacturers.

Other success stories include Boydak Holding, a giant conglomerate that includes a bank, a transport arm and the largest Turkish cable factory; and Istikbal, a furniture company whose high-quality products can be found in world stores.

In 2004, the region applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for starting the construction of 139 new businesses in a single day.

Kayseri has built one of the largest Turkish industrial zones and the region's many successful businessmen earned it the title of "Anatolian tiger."

The European Union and Turkey officially kickstarted in June the long-awaited accession talks.

Ankara won an EU green light last October to start membership talks, albeit being told they would last at least a decade.

Turkey has been trying to join the European club since the 1960s.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16