Dr. Hacı İbrahim Bodur

Dr. Hacı İbrahim Bodur

Founder of Kale Group

Born in 1928 in Çanakkale's Nevruz village, part of the Yenice district which was named by Atatürk in 1934, İbrahim Bodur is a monumental figure who was devoted to Turkey's industrialisation. He is remembered for these words: "Commerce makes people rich but industry makes societies rich."

İbrahim Bodur went to primary school at Yenice Primary School and then graduated from Balıkesir High School with honours.

He was admitted to İstanbul American Robert College and graduated with high honours from the economy department. He furthered his education in the USA studying business administration and returned to Turkey in 1951.

By the end of 1951, he set up the Bodur-Eğinlioğlu Edirnekapı Cotton Yarn Factory together with his father and father-in-law.

With the belief that Turkey's development relied on industrialisation and that development had to start in Anatolia, Bodur laid the foundations of Turkey's first ceramic tiles factory in 1957. Transforming the initial limited company, which then had 750 partners, into today's Çanakkale Seramik Fabrikaları Anonim Şirketi (Çanakkale Ceramics Factories Incorporated Company) that has 1,200 partners, Bodur created Turkey's first publicly-held company jointly with family members, employees, dealers and local people.

İbrahim Bodur went on to create Kale Group, operating in a wide range of industries including ceramics, building materials, building chemicals, defence and aerospace, machinery and moulds, mining, transportation and real estate.

Bodur set up major partnerships both in and outside of Turkey, including foreign partnerships with prestigious organisations such as Siemens, Roca, General Electric and Pratt&Whitney.

In 1952, Bodur took part in efforts to establish the İstanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO), Turkey's first independent chamber of industry. Elected to a seat on the Assembly of ISO in 1962, Bodur became a member of the Turkish Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) General Assembly in 1968, representing the ISO, and later TOBB's Board of Directors in 1969. For six years, from 1969 to 1975, Bodur served as President and Vice President on TOBB's Presidency Council and chaired TOBB's General Assembly for two consecutive terms.

İbrahim Bodur was elected as the President of the Assembly of ISO in 1976. From 1976 to 1992, he served as the President of the Assembly of ISO for 16 years, making him the longest serving person in this capacity.

In these roles, İbrahim Bodur made significant contributions to Turkish industry and economy. He was among the founders of the Industrial Council under the Turkish Chambers of Industry and the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), representing TOBB. He also founded the Turkish-Italian Business Council, which he chaired for a long period of time.

Among one of the six founders of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), Bodur served as a member of the board of directors for several years. He was also among the founders of the Economic Development Foundation (İKV) as a representative of the ISO.

In 2000, the Assembly of ISO honoured Bodur as its honorary member and chairman.

İbrahim Bodur also served as a member of Oyak's General Assembly for 21 years.

Throughout his professional life spanning more than 65 years, Bodur actively engaged in social and cultural activities and was among the founders of prominent foundations including the ISO Foundation, the Turkish Heart Foundation and TEMA. He personally founded the Kale Ceramics Foundation, making significant contributions and investments in education, health and community.

Turkey owes a great many primary schools, Anatolian high schools, vocational healthcare schools, apprenticeship training centres, and dormitories to Bodur, who also generously gave scholarships to tens of thousands of students and provided jobs to thousands of unemployed people.

Starting in the 1950's, İbrahim Bodur pioneered the trend of investing in areas that had national resources and work forces rather than developing enterprises in certain large cities. Starting to export industrial products in 1962, Bodur ensured that Turkish industry and products were promoted not only domestically but also internationally.

Bodur was decorated with the State Medal of Merit from Czechoslovakia and the Cavaliere del Lavoro, Order of Merit for Labour, from Italy in 1985. In 1997, he received the Order of Merit from the Republic of Turkey and the Distinguished Service Award from the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 2006.

In 2007, Bodur was granted the International Aldo Villa award by the Italian Ceramics Association for his contributions to the ceramics industry.

In 1994 Karadeniz Technical University and in 1997 Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University granted honorary doctorate titles to İbrahim Bodur, a man of faith, humility and virtue devoted to national values, who served and contributed significantly in every field to Turkey.

A keen lover of music and literature, İbrahim Bodur's poems have been composed into songs by Turkey's leading composers and released in two albums in CD form titled Yıllarca (On and On) and Miras (Legacy).

İbrahim Bodur, who contributed significantly to development of Turkish industry, passed away on 23 May 2016 at the age of 88.