Sabri Ülker was one of Turkey’s early and iconic entrepreneurs. He launched Ülker company in 1944 and gradually expanded into other businesses, consolidating under the umbrella of Yıldız Holding in 1989 (Yıldız is Turkish for ‘Star’). He was chairman of the Yıldız board until 2000 and the honorary chairman until his death in 2012.
Sabri Ülker was one of the first Turkish businessmen to incorporate hygiene practices into the manufacturing process and was quoted as stating: “Our priority has always been the health of our customers.”
The Ülker family established the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation in 2009 to support scientific contributions in food, nutrition, and health. Topics discussed at Foundation conferences include biological glucose monitoring devices for diabetes, sugar and salt consumption, the impact of micronutrients on early childhood development, clean water, and sustainable agricultural practices as well as educational strategies to disseminate healthy dietary and life style practices.
“The Sabri Ülker Center will address the unsustainable trend of metabolic diseases by developing new strategies and approaches to prevent and treat such debilitating disorders,” said Ali Ülker, grandson of Sabri Ülker and Vice Chairman of the Yıldız Holding Board of Directors. “In making this gift to honor Sabri Ülker, our principle is simple; we go after the great science. We hope this contribution to science will benefit humanity greatly and we have every confidence in Professor Hotamışlıgil’s research and leadership as a world-renowned, preeminent scientist in the field of metabolic diseases.”
Sabri Berksan, the son of a migrant family, while running his tiny bakery shop with extremely limited means in Eminönü, Istanbul in 1944, was reading, and falling in love with, the novel by Safiye Erol, “The Ülker Storm”.
“Causing great surges not only in the rough seas but also in our emotional world, the Ülker Birth Storm starts blowing every year on the 10th day of June, lasts for 3 days, and calms down on the 12th day of June. I believe the passing of Sabri Ülker, on exactly the 12th day of June, is a story of a novel even beyond the vast imagination of Safiye, who left behind spectacular masterpieces of- turn of fate.”