[When I heard that the application I had made for a job equivalent to my education had been rejected by the Ministry of Labor] I dejectedly walked from the area where all the ministries were located onto the main street. I walked towards Kızılay, slowly and with great despondence. All the years of hard work and considerable stress flashed in front of my eyes like a cinema strip. About 15 minutes later, I heard a voice in the distance calling, “Nusret, Nusret...” The voice was coming from a black car on my right, facing towards Çankaya. I realized that the person waving his hand from the driver side window was Mr. Koç. I went over to him. He was driving the car himself.
I remember very well, even today, the perforated leather gloves he was wearing. In an endearing and affectionate voice, he said, “Nusret, what’s the matter? Have your ships sunk? You look really upset.” It was as if he had woken me up from a sleep full of nightmares. I pulled myself together. Standing by the car, I explained that my application to the Ministry of Labor had been rejected and that’s why I was upset.
He invited me into the car. After explaining that he had a half hour meeting at the Ministry of Commerce, but would like to talk to me in more detail, he asked me to wait in the car for him. I think it was about 20 minutes later when he came back and we went together to his office at Koç Ticaret in Ulus Square. It was noon. Recalling that the last time we had met was about four or five years ago, Vehbi Koç said, “If I’m not mistaken, at that time you were working for the Central Bank as well as studying at the Faculty of Law. Then you disappeared. I thought you must have gone off to do military service, got married, or found a job outside Ankara.”
I told him briefly what I had done since leaving the faculty. Mr. Koç listened with great care; it was clear that my story interested him more than his ministerial visit. Now and then, he scribbled a few brief notes. Then, he invited me to eat at the Zevk Restaurant, at the same time letting İlhan (Arsel) know. The three of us had a very enjoyable meal and the positive atmosphere instantly dispelled my stress.
After the meal, we went back to the office. He said, “Nusret, now let’s talk to you about work.” (İlhan was with us during the conversation.) “You can start work with me tomorrow for a monthly salary of 500 lira.” I was completely taken aback by this unexpected offer, but quickly pulling myself together, I replied, “Mr. Koç, you must be feeling sorry for me. You probably felt upset and made the offer just to cheer me up.” I continued by saying, “I’m really grateful, but could you first of all put down in writing how I can be useful and what my duties and responsibilities will be. Then, I’ll try to satisfy your requirements accordingly.” He listened patiently to me and advised me to meet with the general manager of Koç Ticaret, Hulki Alisbah, to talk in more detail about the job before making my final decision.
Of course, that’s what happened and a week later I went to see Mr. Alisbah. He gave me a warm welcome and we talked for about an hour. That’s how, in March 1953, I began working at Koç Ticaret as Mr. Alisbah’s assistant and second-degree authorized signatory. My office was between Hulki Alisbah and Vehbi Koç’s offices, my salary was 500 Turkish lira and I had 15 days annual leave.
Nusret Arsel, Ana Duası (A Mother’s Blessing), Yapı Kredi Yayınları, Istanbul, 2012, pp. 61–62