Who are the most influential and positively impacting Turkish speaking individuals of the UK for the year of 2019?
In October 2019, we, as the NeHaber team, decided to find a way to answer this significant question.
We examined the fields of business, art, sports, politics, among many others to identify individuals that we believe have made a noteworthy mark on the lives of both the UK and Turkish community in the UK. With a volunteer team comprising 12 people and a jury of 50 members, we determined a selection of worthy nominees. Unfortunately we regret that we are only able to list 50 nominees, having to eliminate many valuable names. Nevertheless we worked fairly and thoroughly to create this neutral list. We have included short biographies and social media accounts for you to follow in order for you to be inspired by these impactful names and individuals in the UK, as well as enable you to expand your personal network.
We present The Top 50 most influential Turks in the UK for 2019.
Hakan Silak & Ezgi Cantekin
#Top50UKTurks Project Managers
Top 50 Most influential Turks* in the UK
*From Turkish, Kurdish & Turkish Cypriot communities in the UK
#1 Mustafa Djamgoz (Prof)
Professor of cancer biology at Imperial College London
– Professor Djamgoz is one of the UK’s foremost cancer biologists
– His work has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Huxley Memorial Medal
– Chairman of the College of Medicine’s Science Council
– Published four books and over 200 primary research papers
– He is a consultant to leading institutions such as Medical Research Council UK (MRC) and The Wellcome Trust (WT).
– The research laboratory established by Camgoz is supported by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, The Wellcome Trust and Pro Cancer Research Fund.
#2 Mehmet Ergen
Theatre director, producer & entrepreneur. Founder of Arcola Theatre
– Founded Arcola Theatre in 2,000 in Hackney. Arcola is known for its bold selection of plays
– Has an impressive net worth of £2.3 million
– Time Out Award for Outstanding Achievement
– Peter Brook Empty Space Award (twice)
– Time Out Award for Best Fringe Production
– International Theatre Institute award for Excellence in International Theatre
– Angela Carter Award
– Equity Award for Best Studio Theatre
#3 Fatos Ustek
Curator and art writer
– Director of Liverpool Biennial
– Jury member for Turner Prize 2020
– She is listed in the celebratory Apollo 40 under 40 Thinkers section in 2018
– Listed in Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 London’s most influential people in 2018 and 2017
– Artlyst Power 100 list 2018, and 2017
– Artsy The Top 20 Most Influential Young Curators in Europe
– Recipient of curatorial fellowship at Tornabuoni Art, London 2018
– Curator of Do Ho Suh’s largest commission in the UK (2018-2020)
– Formerly director and chief curator of DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation)
– Contributing editor to Extra Extra
– Chief-juror for the Celeste Prize 2017
– Founding member of Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA)
– She curates, lectures and publishes internationally, recently at Sotheby’s, Goldmisths
#4 Elif Safak
Award winning novelist, essayist, academic, public speaker, and women's rights activist
– She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books
– Her work has been translated into fifty languages.
– She was awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
– In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better.
– She has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, MAN Asian Prize; the Baileys Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award.
– Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Booker Prize.
#5 Jenk Oz
Britain’s youngest CEO at the age of 12. Founded iCoolKid.com
– Was a speaker at: TEDxTalks, Forbes, Business Insider, Model United Nations, Young Leaders Summit, Juilliard
– Jenk is profiled in Forbes, Business Insider, Just Entrepreneurs, The Times, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, Enterprise Nation, The Daily Mail, The Sun, New Business, The Guardian, The Metro, The Independent, Vanity Fair.
– He has also been featured on BBC CEO Secrets, CNN, MSN, SKY News, Sky, ITV, and Chanel 4. Please see Press section for further details
– Business Insider published an article “The insane life of 12-year-old maverick Jenk Oz — Britain’s youngest CEO who mingles with Idris Elba, records music, and acts in West End shows”
#6 Tugce Bulut
Entrepreneur. Founder of Streetbees
– Founder & CEO at Streetbees
– Raised $12m in Series A funding
– UK’s 13th fastest-growing tech firm in 2019
– Won the 2019 international founder award by Women Tech Founders (USA)
– Won Most Innovative Business Idea by British Business Awards 2019
– Streetbees named one of the Top 50 startups to work for in London
– Won best innovation at the MRS awards 2019
#7 Huseyin Ozer
Executive chef & restaurateur
– Owner of Sofra restaurants in Central London
– He is one of three people who got featured in the Discovery Channel’s TV programme called “World’s Richest People”.
– He has an impressive estimated net worth of £37 million
– Has a foundation named “Huseyin Ozer Education Foundation”
– In a partnership program with Middlesex University, he teaches students how to open and run successful restaurants.
– In 2011, Ozer was honoured with the Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Star Network at the World Food Awards.
– In 2007–2008, his restaurant in Regent Street was recommended by Michelin Guide.
– In 2011, he was given an honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Westminster.
– He has also published his own book called the Sofra cookbook
#8 Can Yeginsu
Barrister & Senior Fellow at the Law School's Human Rights Institute
– Consistently ranked by Chambers Global, Chambers UK Bar, and Legal 500 as an outstanding junior
– In 2019, Can was shortlisted for the ‘International Arbitration Junior of the Year‘ by Legal 500
– In 2019 Can was appointed to the independent High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, convened by the former President of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger
– He holds prize-winning degrees from University College, Oxford and Harvard Law School.
– He was a Jane Eliza Procter Fellow at Princeton University.
– Guest lecturer on investment and commercial arbitration at Harvard Law School
– Global Freedom of Expression Expert at Columbia University.
– Can is a member of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law’s Investment Treaty Forum
– Co-author with Sir James Dingemans of a leading international human rights textbook, published by Oxford University Press.
#9 Touker Suleyman
BBC Dragon. Multi-millionaire fashion retail entrepreneur and investor.
– Is one of the famous Dragons on BBC television programme Dragon’s Den.
– The Sunday Times rich list ranked Touker 515 with a net worth of £200m.
– Owner of fashion brands Hawes & Curtis, Ghost and Low Profile Holdings.
– Invested in many start-up companies including Bikesoup and Huxley & Cox.
– Rented his home to David Beckham in South London which gained coverage in national press in 2013
#10 Hasan Yardimci (Dr.)
Group leader, the Francis Crick Institute
– 2015 Became group leader, the Francis Crick Institute, London
– 2013 Hasan established his own research group at Clare Hall Laboratories, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (now part of the Francis Crick Institute). His laboratory develops and applies novel single molecule tools to study DNA replication and repair.
– 2008 Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard Medical School, USA
– 2006 Awarded PhD, Johns Hopkins University, USA
#11 Erol Gelenbe (Prof.)
Chaired Professor, Imperial College and Polish Academy of Sciences
Fellow of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Belgium (2015) , the Science Academies of Hungary (2010), Poland (2013) and Turkey (2007)
– Fellow of ACM (USA, 2001) and IEEE (1986, USA), IET (2003, UK) and Royal Statistical Society (2019, UK),
– Invented the random neural network and the eponymous G-network
– Described by Engineering and Technology (E&T) Magazine as a “true IT Innovator”, “the single individual who, over a span of 30 years, has made the greatest overall contribution to the field of Computer System and Network Performance Evaluation”.
– Commander of the National Order of Merit of France, Awarded by the President of France, 2019
– IFIP Fellow Awarded by the General Assembly of the International Federation of Information Processing, 2019
– Knight of the Legion of Honour, Awarded by the President of France, 2015
– Mustafa Prize, Awarded by the Mustafa Science Foundation 2017
– In Memoriam Dennis Gabor Prize, Awarded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2013
#12 Mert Alas
– Word famous photographer
– Directed music videos for Madonna and Nicki Minaj
– Shot advertising campaigns for many leading luxury brands, including Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Miu Miu, Versace, Lancome, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton.
– Have worked for many of the world’s leading publications, including Vogue, W, Document Journal, Self Service, Interview, LOVE, Vanity Fair and Print Publication among others.
#13 Didem Un Ates
Senior Director of AI Customer & Partner Engagement at Microsoft
– Awarded the ‘Future Leaders’ Award for her social impact work on women and girls in AI.
– Member of the “Women In AI” network
– Mentor for the EY Accelerating Entrepreneurs
– Has extensive multinational leadership experience
#14 Mehmet Ogutcu
Chair of Global Resources Partnership
– An internationally recognized authority on energy, investment, finance and geopolitics
– CEO of Global Resources Partnership – UK Based energy, natural resources and investment advisory Sits on the boards of Genel Energy plc, Sisecam Group and Saudi Crown Holding
– Executive Director of Trinus investment Group
– Strategy Advisor for Asian Development Bank
– Special Envoy for The Energy Charter.
– Chairman of The London Energy Club & The Bosporus Energy Club
– Occasional lecturer at LSE, Harvard University, Peking University
#15 Suleyman Basak (Prof.)
Professor of Finance at London Business School
– Recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on asset pricing and risk management (LBS)
– He has won a number of awards for his teaching. He received the General He is the recipient of several awards including: the American Association of Individual Investors Award for the Best Paper on Investments, the Alexander Henderson Award for Excellence in Economic Theory at Carnegie Mellon University, the Fulbright Scholarship, General Excellence Teaching, Best Teacher MiF and Best Teacher MFA Awards at London Business School, David Hauck Teaching Award at University of Pennsylvania, and Wharton Graduate and Undergraduate Divisions Excellence in Teaching Awards.
– Research Fellow to the Center of Economic Policy Research (CEPR).
– Associate Editor of the journals Management Science and Review of Finance
#16 Sibel Hodge
International Bestselling and Award Winning Author
– Sibel is the number one bestselling author of ‘’Look Behind You’’, ‘’Untouchable’’, ‘’Duplicity’’, ‘’Into the Darkness’’, and ‘’Their Last Breath’’.
– Her books have sold over one million copies globally and are international bestsellers in UK, USA, Australia, France, and Germany.
– She has won numerous literature awards in last 10 years.
#17 Nesil Caliskan
Youngest female Council Leader in the UK
– She became England’s youngest-ever council leader at the age of 29
– Elected as the first female leader in Enfield Council’s history
– First BME female council Leader
– She oversees a council of 8,000 staff and a budget of £230 million, while spearheading a huge £6 billion housing regeneration project at Meridian Waters.
#18 Ibrahim Dogus
Mayor of Lambeth, Entrepreneur, newspaper publisher, MP Candidate 2017 & 2019
– Founder of British Kebab Awards, Centre for Turkey Studies and the Centre for Kurdish Progress
– Director of Lambeth Life, a community newspaper.
– Dogus was the parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency in the June 2017 UK general election and for West Bromwich East at the 2019 general election
– Owner of 3 restaurants in London
– Owner of the beer brand “Bira”, marketed as the world’s first beer as accompaniment to kebabs
#19 Tracey Emin
– Awarded a CBE by the queen for her services to the arts – CBE is the 3rd highest of the order’s
– Royal Academician (Professor of Drawing) at the Royal Academy of Arts (she is one of two female professors to be appointed as Professors in the Royal Academy since its founding in 1768)
– British Prime Minister David Cameron brought one of her art work in 2011
– Nominated for Turner Prize 1999
#20 Bilal Gokpinar (Dr.)
Associate Professor. Head of Operations and Technology, Marketing and Analytics at UCL
– Recipient of the INFORMS Judith Liebman Award in 2007.
– Bilal has also served as a co-investigator on a major research grant from UK’s Technology Strategy Board (total value £1.2 million) to develop decision support tools for emerging cell therapy projects.
– Has taught in the MSc and MBA programmes at various institutions including LSE, HEC Paris and Peking University
#21 Cafer Mahiroglu
Businessman. Owner of Select Fashion
– CEO of Select Fashion (British fashion chain with over 170 high street stores in the UK employing 1,800+ staff.)
– His manufacturing company Armondi also supply fashion to the likes of Top Shop, New Look, Dorothy, Perkins, Tesco and Evans.
– He is also the chairman of the Association of European Turkish Brands and works for the increase of Turkish exports.
#22 Mujde Esin
Social Enterprise Entrepreneur
– Awards won: Microsoft’s women leaders of technology award, the Woman Social Entrepreneur of the year award, and the International Inspiration Award.
– Founder of KizCode – a Social Enterprise which empowers young women in underprivileged communities through education technology and coding workshops
– In 2016, KizCode was recognized for its contribution to social entrepreneurship by the UK Home Office.
#23 Salih Can Gevrek
International Pianist, 27 years old
– His achievements started at the age of 10 when he became a prize winner in many international piano competitions
– He has performed in celebrated London venues such as Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room, Steinway Hall and St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
– Has been accepted to join the Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel in the piano section of Louis Lortie from autumn 2018.
– Salih has performed in masterclasses with renowned pianists including Dmitri Bashkirov, Boris Berezovsky, Menahem Pressler, Leonid Margarius, Lars Vogt, Louis Lortie, Edna Golandsky
#24 Feryal Demirci Clark
Labour Party Member of Parliament for Enfield North, London
– Elected during the 2019 general election, becoming Labour’s first ever Kurdish MP
– She aims to tackle air pollution and improve London’s transport system.
#25 Ferruh Mavituna
Entrepreneur. Founder of Netsparker
– Honoured With a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade Category in 2018
– Raised £23 million investment for Netsparker in 2018
– Netsparker founded in 2009
– Used by world-renowned organizations including Samsung, NASA, Microsoft, ING Bank and Ernst & Young.
#26 Erdem Yurdanur
Software engineer, entrepreneur & tech investor
– Founder of advertising tech company Admost Mediation Limited
– Sold his previous tech company for $80 million
– Erdem is currently managing over 10 billion monthly impressions at Admost.
#27 Cenk Aydin
International Banker & Investor
– He was named Young Global Leader in 2010 by the World Economic Forum (Davos Summit) as one of the 100 Global Leaders under the age of 40.
– Cenk has been featured in many magazines and newspapers, especially with his focus on Social Impact and Views on Strategic Economic Development
– Served a corporate member of Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House.
– Was responsible for global expansion strategies of the world’s largest three banks, Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan
#28 Huseyin Ucar
Businessman. Founder of TFC
– Director of TFC Holdings – largest importer of Turkish good in to the UK. The group also has its own brand Eda Quality Foods for pulses and spice etc.
– His impressive net worth is £28.1 million.
– Founded in 1979 TFC holdings employs currently employs 600 staff and has a turnover of £150 million.
– In 2012 Huseyin received the CTSD business of the year presented by Nick Clegg, who at the time, was deputy prime minister.
#29 Mehmet Kurt (Dr.)
Marie Curie Global Fellow at LSE & documentary filmmaker & human rights activist
– Currently a Marie Curie Global Fellow at LSE
– He is a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellow at the Queen Mary University of London
– In addition to his academic scholarship, Kurt has directed/co-directed an array of highly-received documentaries and ethnographic films
#30 Ali Guryel
Businessman. Founder of Bromcom
– Founded Bromcom in 1986
– Bromcom is one of the seven largest suppliers of school management information systems in the UK
– Bromcom was the first company in the UK to supply an MIS system on the Cloud
– Bromcom is on the approved Government Procurement Service suppliers list
#31 Mustafa Kiamil
Businessman. Founder of JJ Food Service
– Owner of JJ Food Services – founded in 1988 is one of the largest independent foodservice companies in the U.K. with 8 distribution centres across the U.K. & 200 trucks on the road daily and 900 staff.
– The Sunday Times rich list ranked Mustafa Kiamil and his wife Fatma at number 936 with their combined wealth of £100m
#32 Deniz Arman-Gelenbe
Chamber Musician / Professor of Piano and Chamber Music
– Acclaimed as one the best chamber musicians of our time
– She is currently Professor of Piano and Chamber Music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London and at Schola Cantorum in Paris.
– Her students are prize winners in several international competitions
– International performing career including USA, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Israel, Turkey and the Netherlands
#33 Huseyin Chalayan
– He was awarded the “Fashion Visionary Award” for his 20 years of Design Excellence during Audi Fashion Festival in 2013.
– Awarded MBE for services to the fashion industry on 2006
– Awarded The Lucky Strike Designer Award and the Winner of Outstanding Lifetime Achievement to Design at the FX.
– 2015 Opens flagship store in Mayfair, London.
#34 Alp Mehmet
Former British diplomat & chairman of Migration Watch UK
– He spent 15 years working for the immigration service and then 25 years in the diplomatic service
– Served as the UK ambassador to Iceland between 2004 and 2008
– He is now the chairman of MigrationWatch UK
#35 Levent (Lev) Tanju
Businessman. Founder of Palace Skateboards
– Founded Palace Skateboards in 2009 – a London-based skateboard shop and clothing brand which quickly established itself as one of the UK’s most exciting street culture brands
– Palace won the European Skate Brand of the Year in 2012
– Lev has an impressive net worth of £29.8 million
– Palace collaborated with brands such as Juventus F.C., Avirex, Umbro, Reebok, Adidas, Gore-Tex, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Ralph Lauren
– Notable people who have worn Palace clothing in public include Travis Scott, Jonah Hill, Drake, Kanye West, Jay Z, ASAP Rocky, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Freddie Gibbs, Kylie Jenner, and The Weeknd
– Lev is one of the world’s 500 most influential fashion designers according to renowned industry magazine ‘The Business of Fashion’.
#36 Meral Hussein Ece (Baroness )
Baroness. Lib Dems member of the House of Lords
– Entered the House of Lords in 2010, taking the title of Baroness Hussein-Ece of Highbury
– Awarded a OBE by the queen in 2009 for her services for services to local government – OBE is the 2nd highest of the order’s
– Appointed as Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson in 2015
– Actively promotes women’s rights for individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds.
#37 Esra Ozyurek (Prof.)
Professor in European Anthropology and Chair in Contemporary Turkish Studies at LSE
– Awarded a Fellowship by The British Academy, to pursue her project ‘Holocaust Memory and Immigration Integration in Europe
– Invited by BBC and other media to speak live on air about her subject expertise.
#38 Lara Melda
– Won the BBC Young Musician 2010 award
– Was a guest on BBC’s Proms Extra programme
– Won the ‘Woman of the Year Arts Award’ by Elele-Avo in 2015
– Lara has played many times with the BBC National Orchestra
#39 Emma Edhem
Barrister & Councilwoman of the City of London
– Emma Edhem is a barrister of more than 20 years’ standing
– She is a practicing barrister at No5 Chambers, where she is deputy head of international law.
– Chair of the Turkish British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the first woman to hold the position
– She is also a director of the Azerbaijani British Law Association and president of the Turkish British Legal Society.
#40 Rafet Gazvani
Consultant in Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine
– Features in “Dr Foster’s List of Experts” in the fields of both Infertility and Endometriosis.
– Rafet has more than 25 years of experience as a health professional
– A Consultant in Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine
– Honorary Lecturer at the University of Liverpool. Rafet
– Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
– Member of the British Fertility Society
– Member of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
#41 Ahu Tatli (Prof.)
Professor of International Human Resource Management, Queen Mary University
#42 Erdem Moralioglu
– Erdem designs have been worn by Hollywood actresses and royalty including Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Alexa Chung and Arizona Muse
– Estimated net worth of £13.2 million
– 2014 Womenswear Designer of the Year – British Fashion Awards
– 2015 British Faksuashion Council’s Establishment Designer Award
– 2015 Man of the Year’ by Harper’s Bazaar
– 2016 Fashion Group International Fashion Star Award
#43 Bora Aksu
– He was described as ‘the star of the show’ by The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent when he graduated from Central St Martin’s MA in 2002.
– Bora’s collection attracted many world-wide known designers including Dolce and Gabanna who invested into his designs for inspiration.
– Has been in the official London Fashion Week schedule since 2003.
– In 2012 he joined the judging panel of the WGSN Global Fashion Awards. Aksu
– He also won Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards in Turkey.
#44 Mehmet Kurt
Inventor & Businessmen
– Invented a £20m machine designed to eliminate jockeys’ human error from the pre-training of racehorses.
– The £20m machine had coverage on ITV, Telegraph & The Times
– Mehmet brought Kingwood Stud, and deployed setup his KurtSystems on the 165 acre site
– Mehmet intends to become fully engaged in the future of the British horse racing scene
#45 Ali Matur
Businessman. Owner of Holland Bazaar
– Founder of Holland Bazaar cash & carry in London.
– He built the company from a small family-run wholesaler into a business with a £100m turnover
– He has an impressive current net worth of £30.4 million.
#46 Merve Bayindir
London based millinery designer
|Women’s hats Designer|
– Official milliner with Royal Ascot
– Her hats are stocked at Fenwicks Bond Street and Harrods
– The brand has been featured across titles such as Vogue Paris, Vogue Turkey, Country and Townhouse, Brides, Tatler, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard and many more.
#47 Yasemin Allsop (MBE)
Computing lead for the Primary PGCE programme at the IOE at UCL
|Awarded an MBE by the Queen|
– MBE is the 5th highest of the order’s
– recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2019
– Currently the computing lead for the Primary PGCE programme at the Institute of Education, UCL.
– co-editor of the International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools.
#48 Alper Ali Riza (QC)
The only Queen’s Counsel (QC – very senior barrister) of Turkish Cypriot origin appointed by the Queen
– Alper Riza QC has acted in a large number of reported cases since the 1980s
#49 Acelya Toprak
Youngest winner of European Judo Open
|21 years old British Judo sportswoman of Turkish Cypriot origin.|
– Being the youngest winner of the European Open in Belgrade 2017
– Winning the European Cup U21 in Paks in 2018
#50 Ahmet İplikci
Managing Director / Investment Advisor
|Founding Partner and Managing Director of Ishtar Advisory Limited |
– Board member of Banco Finantia, (a Portuguese bank)
– UK advisor to Kazakh Invest National Company
Advisory board member of
– British Chamber of Commerce TurkeyFuel Ventures (an early stage VC in the UK)
– Red Strike (a sports marketing agency),
– Merrick Real Estate (a UK-focussed real estate asset management platform),
– ARAR oil & gas
– HotelRunner (a global B2B platform for hospitality).
Prior to this, Ahmet has been a hedge fund manager in different asset management and family office platforms.
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