So, TUSIAD’s new chair is Simone Kaslowski. This is the first time that a non-Muslim is elected to head the most important organization of the Turkish bourgeoisie. A fine move, if a bit belated.

This is quite an achievement. The same bourgeoisie had looted the capital of non-Muslims, thanks to the Capital Tax levied on the minorities in 1942. As if the looting was not enough, these merchants were taken to Askale to labor camps. Such a shame as every single one of these people, who were from these lands as any of us, had been a big plus for this country.

The prime minister of the time, Mr. Sükrü Saracoglu had a name for this atrocity: The Turkification of Capital. Saracoglu had a Nazi flair to him, except he didn’t target the Jews alone. HE targeted all non-Muslim citizens of Turkey.

It wasn’t enough that you had a generic name like Ahmet, Mehmet, and you claimed to be Turkish and a Muslim. If they found out a single member out of your family tree that was not Muslim, you were labeled as a “convert” and you had to bear ridiculous tax levies. This was textbook Nazism.

What ended up happening was Turkey destroying its own capital base by getting rid of its bourgeois class, and ended up being poorer than it was. Most of our non-Muslim citizens, who incidentally held the intellectual capital of the country, were forced to leave the country. While the Turkish state was persecuting these people, it also continued to secularize the devout Sunnis, make Sunnis out of Alawites, and turn the Kurds into Turks. This was a strange ideology that basically did not fancy any of the identities of the Turkish public.

Let’s be frank here: Certain families associated with TUSIAD owe a large portion of their wealth to these past atrocities. Thankfully, the non-Muslim families who were highly gifted in the business world managed to build themselves up from ruin. The Kaslowski family is one of them. Therefore, it is important that in 2019, against this backdrop we have the foremost association of industrialists and businesspeople headed by Simone Kaslowski.

Not many of us know Aldo Kaslowski, Simone Kaslowski’s father, even though he is well regarded by TUSIAD and its members. He was the Director of Foreign Affairs, and has lobbied for Turkey in international circles for many years. He is the founder of Organic Chemical Corporation.

The family left Italy and arrived in Istanbul in 1868. The grandfather Luigi opened a fabric shop in Sirkeci, and started selling the fabrics he imported from overseas. Many prominent families such as the Sabancis were his customers. Akin Textiles and Topbas families were also among his customers.

But what pushed the family towards TUSIAD was the chemical company founded by Aldo, the son, in Bomonti in 1963.

TUSIAD’s new Chairman Simone Kaslowski, the third generation of the family, is the top manager of Organic Holdings.

Originally published in Turkish at: