The drive into the Free Zone on day two of's Turkish industry tour was in the company of Gokhan Celik, owner of Alia Yachts, which has quietly been building three superyachts, all for delivery next year.

"We have kept a low profile so far because it helps us stay focused on delivering our best work; if customers find us, they tend to already know what they want," Celik said of his yard, which has achieved the 9001, 14001 and 18001 ISO standards from Lloyds.

One of the yard's three builds is a 60m aluminium yacht with a Van Osaannen fast displacement hull form and a Frank Laupman interior - the first of its kind after Heesen's Galactica Star.

"The most important thing for people to understand about good Turkish builders is that we are less expensive, but we're not cheap," Celik said.

"It's hard to find superyacht builders happy to take on full custom projects at the 30-50m size range. But these guys are great and we're looking at bringing another client here," said owner's representative and project manager David McQueen.

Along with the good build quality that comes from bringing in experienced labour from around Turkey (migrants from Tuzla and members of Celik's former yard, Peri Yachts) Alia has an accomplished in-house interiors company whose work is also contracted out to European yards.

"Alia is my own business: I'm happy to work on erasing the misconception of Turkish quality by building these projects," Celik said. "We focus on a high quality process and know that the product will reflect that."

Emre Sandan is the 35-year-old naval architect, MBA, health and safety engineer at the helm of Sarp  Yachts, currently building a 46m steel and composite superyacht on-spec.

"The Kanatli family have decided to invest in the skills and project management available here in Turkey to build superyachts, so my job has been to make that happen," Sandan said.

This is a yard built from the ground up on principles of good management, attention to detail and the best quality components and build processes.

Emre Sandan.

Proudly displaying their ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 flags, the yard is a picture of remarkable cleanliness and order, on par, from what saw, with the best of Northern Europe.

Sandan revels in clever solutions, engineering and design, and is clearly enjoying the job of building, not only a yacht, but an impressive shipyard. "Things are different in Turkey and a lot of European managers don't understand this; if you want to run an excellent shipyard here, you have to know how to assemble an engine room and you have to show the guys how you want it done," Sandan said by way of example.

His passion and attention to detail are uncommon. He points out the importance of sanding profiles for the finish of the Awlgrip paint system as easily as he discusses the CO2 fire suppression system in the yard or Turkey's place on the global stage.

"I love yacht building because it's like solving puzzles every day," he said, gazing out at the dramatic mountains that frame Antalya's western horizon. "We will sell this yacht and everyone will see what Sarp and Turkey is capable of delivering."

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