How Mavi Is Making A Difference After The Turkey Quake

February 15, 2023

On February 6, a catastrophic and destructive 7.8 earthquake struck southern and central Turkey, as well as northern and western Syria. The death toll, as of now, is a devastating 40,000, and counting. For survivors, the aftermath has, for many meant grief over the passing of loved ones, the loss of a home, lack of food and shelter, and countless other hardships. One fashion company, with roots in Turkey, wasted no time in organizing relief efforts. We spoke with Arkun Durmaz, president of Mavi North America, to learn more. —Noa Nichol

Hello Arkun, please tell us a bit about yourself to start.

I have overseen Mavi Jeans Canada since 1997, when we first introduced it to the Canadian market.

Why was it so important to Mavi, as a company, to help the earthquake relief efforts in Turkey?

This was such a huge disaster that it affected everyone with ties to Turkey. For us as the Mavi family, meeting the most pressing needs of our communities, employees, franchisees suppliers and all living creatures remains our top priority. We have store staff, customers as well manufacturers and their families throughout the area who have been affected. We went through the last large earthquake in 1999 that devastated northwestern Turkey and knew immediately how horrible this one would be for the population.

What actions did Mavi take immediately following news of the quake to assist in the aid efforts?

I was contacted first by Mr. Taylan Tokmak, Turkey’s Consul General, immediately after the quake, and was informed about the donation collection plan. Mavi had a partially empty warehouse in Vancouver, so I suggested that we could use it for the effort. The space ended up being very useful; volunteers from the Turkish community as well as Canadians from all over came in to help organize, and the donations started flowing in. As Türkish Airlines agreed to fly relief supplies free of charge, the team has been sorting, packing and shipping goods to the airport.

What sorts of help was Mavi able to provide?

In addition to providing our warehouse space for volunteers, we made monetary donations to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) and AHBAP, one of the most active NGOs in Turkey, and delivered winter clothing to the affected region through the Turkish Red Crescent. We are also a regular supporter of the GEA team, which is actively taking part in the search and rescue efforts in the region, and we continue to meet their needs. We partnered with the manufacturers in the region and created safe zones in four provinces—Kahramanmaraş, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa—for all the Mavi employees and business partners living in the disaster area. We dispatched our trucks to these shelters to deliver essential needs such as heating equipment, food, blankets, clothing and shoes, cleaning and hygiene products, and diapers. We are also a regular supporter of the Encander association, and we continue to meet their needs as they currently work to protect and rescue the animals in the affected region.

Are Mavi’s efforts ongoing? Can the public still help?

Effort is still ongoing and will continue at our warehouse until February 20. At this point the list of needed items is reduced to: blankets, diapers, medical equipment and new winter clothing. The team is no longer able to accept used goods. At Mavi, we will continue to stand by our employees, business partners, and the community until life returns to normal in the affected regions.

Beyond Mavi’s efforts, in what other ways can we, the members of the public, help the people of Turkey?

We have asked our communities to consider donating to the AHBAP to further help the earthquake relief efforts in Turkey.

Was anyone in Mavi’s own fold (in the company) impacted personally by the quake?

We have approximately 600 employees in the regions and we are devastated by the loss of our three young and brilliant employees located in the affected area. We extend our condolences to their grieving families and those who lost their lives in the devastating earthquake and wish a fast recovery to the injured.


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