Cities don't come much more dramatic and steeped in geopolitical consequence than Istanbul; so it was a fitting conclusion to our expedition to convene a dinner of friends and acquaintances overlooking the Bosphorus.
Murat Vargi founder of TurkCell and a yacht owner was our generous host, and we were joined by Johnny Horsfield of H2 Design and Kemal Saatcioglu, CEO of Dogus Group's D-Marin marinas business.
Rounding out the group was myself and our European editor, Justin Ratcliffe.
"The markets have reached to the lower than expected economic growth rate in Germany of 1.2 per cent, while here in Turkey, we are showing growth of three per cent," Vargi said.
It was agreed that Turkish commercial shipyards have had to up their game and deliver higher spec, more specialised and technically advanced vessels in order to compete with shipyards in Asia, something that has had a positive impact on the skilled labour force available to yachting yards in Turkey.
But for Vargi, the Turkish yacht building industry is still somewhat hampered by its inability to come together as an association or federation, though positive signs of forward-thinking collaboration and mutual respect is evident in Antalya.
On the topic of the yachts themselves, Vargi said he'd read Martin Redmayne's recent Introduction in Issue 14 on the subject of owning three 50m yachts as opposed to one 150m.
"I completely agree," said Vargi. "You have more flexibility, you are closer to your loved ones on board and most importantly, you can still get into the harbours in your own yacht rather than having to anchor out and be driven in."
Discussion ranged from reviewing the recent fate of Turkish yards to the economic impact Syrian refugees were having on the labour market to the definition of a yacht itself.
"My latest yacht has wonderful design and has been a fantastic family boat for us," Vargi said of his 42m Vripack-designed explorer with ArtLine interiors, E&E.
You can read our other reports from Turkey here:
Into the Free Zone 1: Arkin Pruva and Sunrise Yachts
Into the Free Zone 2: Alia and Sarp Yachts
Take me to Tuzla: Dunya, Numarine and Alen Yachts
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