It has been a great weekend here in Istanbul. Some of us went to The Prince’s Island. Some went to the Korcha Palace. Some of us also witnessed the Istanbul police chasing down some protestors and shooting tear gas at them (kind of cool, but also a little bit intimidating!). One festivity that everyone attended was the house party at Cengiz Kara’s residence. It was a great time with good food (Cengiz’s mother cooks the best Turkish food we tasted in Istanbul!), good companies, and good belly dancing!
Today is Monday again and that means we’re getting back to work. In the morning, all the teams gathered in the lobby to work on the final report. There were a lot of intense discussions and last-minute changes to the report that we’re sending to our client today. However, everyone pulled through and submitted the report by 12PM. Then, everyone put on their suits for the afternoon business visit. But first, we departed the hotel to go have lunch at a beautiful restaurant with, yet again, another amazing view. The restaurant is called House Café. We had lunch outside because the weather was gorgeous. Lunch was a little bit less Turkish, a little bit more Western, which was a nice change for most of us (too much kebobs!).
After lunch, we left to go to BORSA Istanbul, the Istanbul Securities Exchange. The presenter briefed us on the Turkish economy once again, but also, the Turkish capital market. Though these two topics might sound repetitive, this presentation was a lot more finance involved than any other presentation we’ve had so far. I really enjoyed learning about other exciting things that Turkey economy has to offer such as its new investment grade, the components of its equity and debt markets, IPOs trend, and Istanbul stock market descriptions. The presenter then went on to introduce BORSA itself, which has $285,184 million USD of market capitalization and the 8th highest turnover of total value of trading stock among the emerging markets. The information was, of course, very helpful for us, especially for those of us who are interested in finance. We also visited the trading floor and we were pleasantly surprised at how casual it was. I think everyone was expecting the mayhem that exists at the New York Stock Exchange. When we showed up, it was rather quiet. Everyone was in business casual. Later we learned that this was mostly because traders and brokers in Istanbul can trade remotely. So the trading floor serves more as a “trading vacation spot” for them.
At night, Cengiz invited everyone and professor Akyuz to a contemporary music concert right across the street from our hotel. The group of performers was called Mercan Dede Dunya. It was a fantastic concert with an open bar contemporary fused with traditional music. On the stage there were also spiritual images and inspiring messages that go along with all the songs. Everyone agreed that it was one of the most unique experiences in Istanbul so far.
We only have three days left in Turkey. Time flies by so fast!