Founder & History
Founder and Chairman of Aksoy Ventures, Erdal Aksoy, was born in 1943 in Trabzon, as the second eldest of seven siblings. He started to work with his father Osman Aksoy when he was around the age of 7. His father was a merchant of lumber, wood and coal, active in Erzurum and nearby cities of Turkey. After the family moved to Istanbul at the end of 1940s, Erdal Aksoy started to travel between Istanbul and Erzurum supporting his father in the family business. Erdal Aksoy went to primary and secondary school in Sarıyer and then to Kabataş High School after which he attended and graduated from the Istanbul Technical University with a M.Sc. degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 1966.
Erdal Aksoy started his business life engaging in small construction projects with his elder brother Erol Aksoy. Then, he opened a gas station in 1971 as a Mobil Oil dealer/franchisee in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul. After significantly increasing the sales volumes in this gas station, he opened another one in the Rumelifeneri area in Sarıyer with the intention to sell higher volumes to fisherman boats. He succeeded in this, and as a next step he decided to go into shipping business leveraging his extensive relationship with Mobil Oil Turkey. He bought a small tanker carrying oil products for the Mobil Oil company first nationwide later globally. In ten years, he successfully grew the business becoming one of the largest ship-owners in Turkey with 14 vessels including chemical tankers, large and medium size dry cargo vessels, and RoRo vessels (very first ones in Turkey). He gathered all of his shipping companies under the umbrella of Aksoy Holding which he founded in 1978. It was late 1978 when Erdal Aksoy achieved to become one of the top five individual tax payers in Turkey, at age 35, for the first time. Erdal Aksoy sold his fleet at the top of the market in mid 1980s when he decided to focus on the oil business.
Erdal Aksoy established an oil products marketing, storage and transportation company in 1983 under the name Enak Marketing Storage and Transportation. This was a 50-50 joint venture between Aksoy Holding and Enka Holding. Enak conducted high volumes of oil trade between Iran, Iraq and Turkey throughout 1983 and 1991, i.e. till the beginning of the first Gulf War. During this period, Enak not only was awarded numerous times as one of the highest corporate tax payers in Turkey but also provided record amounts of foreign currency entry to the country. Enka Holding's 50% shares in Enak were acquired by Aksoy Holding in 1991, and this company was restructured as Aksoy Holding's construction subsidiary in 2005, and later as the international trade subsidiary in 2010 under its current title Aksoy International.
Besides the marketing of oil products, Erdal Aksoy, with his local partners, established Tabas Petroleum in 1980, a fuel distribution company, the company known today as Turcas Petrol. Tabas was established in the form of a venture capital by approximately 800 individual gas station owners/franchisees of various distribution companies. Under Erdal Aksoy’s leadership, Tabas grew speedily and 25% shares of the company was acquired by Conoco Petroleum Inc. of USA in 1995. In 1996, with its strengthened shareholding, Tabas acquired Turcas Petroleum. Erdal Aksoy merged Tabas Petroleum and Turcas Petroleum in 1999 under the name Turcas Petrol. Erdal Aksoy and his family’s shares in Turcas Petrol were injected as equity-in-kind into Aksoy Holding in 2005, the year when Aksoy Holding also acquired the shares of ConocoPhillips in Turcas, reaching the current majority ownership level (%51.55). Turcas merged its fuel retail operations with that of Shell Turkey in 2006 under a new joint venture company, Shell & Turcas Petrol which is continuously ranked among the top 10 largest companies of Turkey by turnover according to Fortune and similar magazines since its inception. Turcas owns 30% of Shell & Turcas while the remaining 70% is owned by Shell Turkey, a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Turcas Petrol, the flagship company of Aksoy Holding, has direct and indirect majority or minority ownership stakes in 11 subsidiaries in the oil and energy sector. Turcas Petrol shares are traded on Borsa Istanbul (BIST:TRCAS) since 1992. Turcas is a diversified, oil and energy focused investment company and is unique in Turkey with its strategy to grow in long term partnerships with top-notch international energy companies in value creating projects. Another major example of such partnerships is the active joint venture of Turcas with RWE AG of Germany related to the green-field investment and operation of the 800 MW Denizli Natural Gas Fired Combined Cycle Power Plant.
In addition to its oil and energy holdings, Turcas acquired a significant level of know-how and expertise in petrochemicals by having established a joint venture with SOCAR in 2007 thanks to the long standing relationships Erdal Aksoy built in Azerbaijan since the early 1990s, and having acquired Petkim Petrochemicals Holding from the Privatization Administration of Turkey in 2008 for a consideration of 2.04 Billion USD. Turcas later exited from its petrochemicals and refining investments, however, Turkey has hosted and benefitted from SOCAR’s 20 Billion USD investment program in petrochemicals, refining, natural gas, infrastructure, logistics and energy.
While Chairing the Boards of Aksoy Ventures, Aksoy International, Turcas Petrol and its controlled subsidiaries such as Turcas Kuyucak Geothermal Power, Erdal Aksoy is also a Founding Board Member of Shell & Turcas Petrol.
In addition to his involvement in the oil and energy business, Erdal Aksoy, together with his brother Erol Aksoy had heavily invested in the ever growing tourism and real estate sectors of Turkey as of the late 1980s. Two brothers established Yeditepe International Hotels in 1988, partnered with Hilton Hotels Corp. of USA, International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Turkish Republic Pension Fund and the Social Securities Corporation, and built the largest hotel in Turkey; the 5-star, then 670-key (now 553-key), upper-tier Conrad Istanbul overlooking the Bosphorus. Conrad Istanbul started operations in 1992 and continues to be the crown-jewel tourism and real estate investment under Aksoy Holding. The hotel went through a 70 Million USD 3-year full refurbishment program which was completed in 2016. Today, the Conrad Lobby hosts 100 selected art paintings of Hüseyin Avni Lifij from the Belkıs & Erdal Aksoy Collection.
Another major investment of Erdal Aksoy in high-end real estate sector has been The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bodrum, the ultra-luxurious residential development in the Tilkicik Bay of Yalıkavak, Bodrum located on a 126,000 m2 freehold peninsula. This project which comprises 75 private villas, is designed by the world famous South African firm SAOTA, an expert on sophisticated and open space architecture. Construction on site started in 2014 with a launch in 2015 and finalized in 2020. The project, which started as Epique Island, was rebranded as The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bodrum in July 2020, becoming the first ever standalone residential project of The Ritz-Carlton in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Under Erdal Aksoy’s leadership, Aksoy Holding expanded its business activities into the vibrant Turkish banking sector by acquiring PASHA Bank in 2013 which he later sold in full to Pasha Holding of Azerbaijan.
The title of Aksoy Holding A.Ş. was registered as Aksoy Girişimcilik Enerji ve Turizm A.Ş. (“Aksoy Girişimcilik / Aksoy Ventures”) on May 29, 2020. Company has been carrying out its operations by its new title since then.Besides his prominent and respected entrepreneurial business life, Erdal Aksoy has always been active in a number of non-governmental and governmental organizations with the intention to serve his nation and fellow citizens. Erdal Aksoy served as the President of the Turkish Ship-owners Union Association between 1980 and 1985. He chaired the Chemical Materials and LPG Transportation Department of the Chamber of Sea Commerce between 1982 and 1986, and was a Board Member of the Turkish Employers Union Association during 1986. Erdal Aksoy served his local community as the President of Sarıyer Sports Club between 1976 and 1990 when its soccer division went through the most successful years in the Turkish premier league and won the European Balkans Championship. For a certain period, Erdal Aksoy was involved in politics. He served as the President of the Sarıyer Provincial Branch of the Motherland Party (ANAP) between 1989 and 1993, and afterwards as the President of the Istanbul Branch of ANAP between 1993 and 1997.
Erdal Aksoy is one of the principle founders of the Eduard Shevardnadze Turkey-Georgia Cooperation Foundation and the Turkish-Georgian Education and Culture Foundation. He is a member of TUSIAD (Turkish Industry and Business Association) since 1998, a member of the High Advisory Board of TESEV (Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation) since 2000, and Founding Vice Chairman of PODEM (Corporate Policy and Democracy Activities Center) since 2015. Erdal Aksoy is also a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Azerbaijan Diplomacy Academy (ADA) since 2013.
Awards honored to Erdal Aksoy include;
- Gold Medals for being one of the Top 5 Individual Income Tax Payers nationwide between 1978 and 1980 by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce,
- Various Medals and Certificates of Appreciation by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Sea Commerce between 1980 and 1985 for providing Record Amounts of Foreign Currency Entry to the Country, and
- Numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals and Certificates of Appreciation by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 for making the Highest Level of Corporate Tax Payments in Istanbul and nationwide through the companies he owns, chairs or serves in the Boards of.
Erdal Aksoy speaks English and is married to Belkıs Aksoy since 1974. Erdal and Belkıs Aksoy are recognized as art lovers with a distinguished collection comprising of the paintings of Hüseyin Avni Lifij, Nazmi Ziya, Halil Pasha, Timur Kerim İncedayı, and other recognized artists. They have two children; Banu Aksoy Tarakçıoğlu (1975) and Batu Aksoy (1977). Both Banu Aksoy Tarakçıoğlu and Batu Aksoy are shareholders and Executive Board Members of Aksoy Ventures and run the family enterprise together with Erdal Aksoy.
Aksoy Ventures, under Mr. Erdal Aksoy’s and his family’s leadership, plans to increase its Net Asset Value by continuing to invest in and focusing on the Oil & Energy, Tourism & Real Estate, and International Trade sectors.