It is hard to trust brokers in Turkey. I only met a good guy once, in Istanbul, who managed together with his son a small yacht repairing yard, and the money came from that aspect of his business. He also had a small office rented in a Marina, the place where I actually met him. Because of the yard, he wasn’t busy to cheating others, like my partner was at the time. I’m also sure he is not the last honest yacht broker in Turkey.
Before meeting me, my partner used to steal information and pics from other brokers (in Turkey this is such a controversial category, every one can be a “broker” if he intermediates something) and never worked out a deal alone, from start to beginning. His goal was not to perfect a transaction, but to make some money, from his potential clients, no matter what or how much. He never ended a transaction before he met me, because he was afraid of the law, he never quite understood the legal intricacies of selling and buying a boat in Turkey, especially when the clients were foreigners. He continuously lied and eventually he got caught with that and he lost all his clients. They dumped him elegantly, but not all of them were so patient.
Turkish Brokers – The Story
Sometimes you have to be prepared to push the button a little bit more just for a piece of info, because one saves money by doing that. It is absolutely logic that everyone tries to cut the broker from the transaction, being easier to sell a boat on your own. It is not decent to do so, but it is not easy to sell anything if you don’t have a brain, meaning that with just three grades of school one doesn’t have the logical mechanism to devise a legal transaction, at least that’s what I think. Lately, a rule which applied after Erdoğan’s Party was elected, forbade the issuing of a driving license to one that hasn’t graduated high school. But it came already already late. A lot of three graders were driving around.
In Turkey it seems easier to sell on your own because they don’t use to offer exclusivity contracts to brokers, not in yachts market, nor in Real Estate, they have the tourism and bargaining in their blood, so they think it’s easy. When selling, intermediate or buying everything, their rule is:
Cheat as much as you can because “that’s business” and Allah will forgive you if you keep your fasting hours during Ramadan and you go to the mosque twice in the whole year, in the first morning of the festivals. Cheating and lying are forbidden only with family, with foreigners it’s OK.
My story now, is about me finding a certain boat owner and offer him an exclusivity contract with us (my and my partner’s firm), based on the mentioning of a potential buyer my former partner’s brother claimed he had, so the action is complicated on both ends. We have not had a buyer on our hands, we had a potential one, who a guy I profoundly disliked (the brother), claims to have had approached him; a big, fat lie, as I still had to find out.
I went to Istanbul alone because I had other businesses too, and because I knew the wonderful city better than anyone involved. It was the end of October, it was raining, and a little bit cold. I came from the Mediterranean Sea and I was very “light”. Late in the evening I found the boat they were looking for, based just on a picture my partner’s brother found on a Turkish site. If you remember my former posts, you must know that only if you are the owner you publish all data about a boat you want to sell. If you are just an intermediary, you alter the capture and you release no important data, just a phone number and some technical details of the boat. If you are a legitimate broker, you give all your credentials, even if these sometimes make people think you are very expensive.
The bad news was that the boat had already an exclusivity contract with the good guy I mentioned when I begun the story. I wanted to know who the owner of that particular boat was, even if I started to have great doubts about the whole deal. The boat was very good looking, a 20 meter mahogany gullet with very smooth endings, seven cabins, a real sea train. The price was ridiculous, if the potential “clients” were serious in offering what my partner’s brother bragged, we had no need to eliminate the good broker from Istanbul. I got all the info and I softened, because he deserved his commission, it was barely covering some of the Marina’s expenses.
I jokingly told my partner to try to do the same thing on his end, to try to eliminate his brother from the deal, because there is where we lose, not in Istanbul. I expressed my doubts about price and all, and especially of the owner being “a Russian living in Antalya”. He told me he’ll discuss with me when I came back.
Actually his brother wanted the same thing (with me at least), he wanted to have all the data and fix the deal between the Istanbul yacht owner and his English potential buyer, on his own, as if this would be a piece of cake when you have no brain.
What was hidden behind
The boat owner, the seller, was a Russian mobster with “business” in Antalya, he took that boat by extortion from one of his numerous “clients”, that’s why the price was so low, or it was just a bait. He asked his broker for a meeting with my partner, and he was presented to the big brother my partner has. He discovered that there were no English clients at all, but a potential scam coming from the jealous big brother. This one had his two own boats and he started to build another one, bigger. In these times, big wooden yacht means very big money. Ten-twelve years ago, there was a chance in Turkey to build big gullets very cheap, or at least affordable (except in and near Bodrum area). But nowadays you have to pay for it ten times than it values, even if the costs are the same or maybe with maximum 10% more. This big brother was greedy enough to try to pay even less than the value. One can do that in Turkey by not paying in time and letting inflation to devalue the price. That means lack of brain, believe me, and the guy was a three grader, exactly like my partner. He is married with another English greedy woman who was formerly a tourist on one of his boats. They also have a holiday complex they try to book directly from England, where he claimed he is a yacht broker and realtor himself. I have never seen any official papers, but they might have registered a family association at a local Trade Register or the closest mayor.
The brother got lucky. He has been extorted only with 5,000 lira by the Russian mobster and I don’t give any details on it. I regret of having been involved with their kind. I have not met the Russian; my partner’s wife told me the story. When I came back from Istanbul, another deal appeared for us (for my partner and I), it was an “opportunity” for a very big commission, but I went off of it and off the firm altogether. I redacted a draft of the contract, after inspecting the yacht together with the potential buyer, and that was my last action in the firm. My former partner eventually sold that boat after I left, with less profit. I have never seen my cut, but I was aware that will happen.
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