When Haci Mustafa Boydak was born 76 years ago in the small town of Hacilar on the foothills of Mount Erciyes it was common for boys to grow up without learning how to read. Haci Mustafa quit primary school after one year, and had to learn to read by himself when he was older. He was born into an overwhelmingly rural society: three quarters of the Turkish population lived in rural areas and 80 percent of the labour force was in agriculture. Growing up in a (small) town not far from Kayseri town, Haci Mustafa became an apprentice in a carpentry work-shop in Kayseri town at a young age. After a few years he opened his own small carpenter shop to produce wooden doors and windows. In the late 1950s he and his brother, Haci Sami, opened a work-shop in the first industrial zone in Kayseri town and in 1976, following a visit to Europe to buy machinery, they established the first factory for mass production of furniture in the region
Today the business started by the two brothers – Boydak Holding - has grown into a conglomerate comprising 22 companies and an export network spanning 70 countries. Managed by their six sons, the holding includes a bank, a transport company, a trade company and Turkeys largest cable factory. At its centre, however, are Turkey's two most famous furniture brands, Istikbal and Bellona. In total Boydak Holding employs more than 12,000 people (some 10,000 in Kayseri itself) and in 2004 it had a turn-over of over US$ 1,2 billion.