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Erdoğan’s son-in-law Bayraktar joins world’s richest on Forbes billionaire list

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Selçuk Bayraktar, chairman of Turkish defense contractor Baykar and the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has made it on to Forbes list of billionaires, one of 27 billionaires from Turkey who appeared on the list.

Bayraktar, with a net worth of $1.2 billion, was in 2,410th place on the list, while his brother and Baykar CEO Haluk was 2,545th with a net worth of $1.1 billion.

There are 141 more billionaires in the world than there were last year, with 2,781 in total. Their combined net worth equals $14.2 trillion — up by $2 trillion in 2023.

Military drones are reported to be the source of the wealth of the Bayraktar brothers.

Selçuk Bayraktar owns 52.5 percent of Baykar. He chairs the board and serves as the company’s chief technology officer. He co-owns the firm with his brother Haluk, who has a 47.5 percent of Baykar.

The company was founded by their father Özdemir in 1984 to make parts for the Turkish auto industry.

Baykar recorded sales of $1.4 billion in 2022, and its exports rose to $1.8 billion in 2023, thanks to contracts with militaries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Drones developed by Baykar have been exported to at least 30 countries and have been used in conflicts in Azerbaijan and Libya in addition to Ukraine. Many say the company owes its success to Erdoğan, who personally promotes Baykar drones during his visits to foreign countries, as a result of which agreements worth of millions of dollars are signed.

Selçuk Bayraktar married Erdoğan’s daughter Sümeyye in 2016.

There are 23 men and four women billionaires from Turkey on the list. Selçuk Bayraktar is the 24th billionaire from among the 27 on the list from Turkey.

According to data released by the Turkish Revenue Administration, a government body under the Finance Ministry, in early January, Selçuk Bayraktar also paid the highest amount of income tax in the country in 2022 at TL 564.1 million (around $34 million at the time).

Turkish commercial law stipulates that sole proprietorships like Baykar pay income tax, not corporate tax.

Bayraktar also topped the 2021 list of the country’s 100 top taxpayers.

Businessman Murat Ülker

Turkey’s top billionaire on the Forbes list is Murat Ülker, whose net worth is $5.1 billion and ranks as the 597th richest person in the world. Ülker owns 63 percent of Yıldız Holding, which produces a wide range of food products and non-alcoholic beverages.

In 2020, he handed over the chairmanship of Yıldız Holding, a position he had served in for 20 years, to his nephew Ali Ülker.

At the top of the Forbes list is Bernard Arnault and his family with a net worth of $233 billion. Arnault is head of LVMH, a luxury fashion and cosmetics conglomerate in France. The family is usually in the top three of Forbes’ wealthiest people in the world lists.

Elon Musk, once the richest person in the world, is the number two on the list, with a net worth of $195 billion. Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, also bought Twitter for $44 million in 2022, renaming it X.

Musk is followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has a net worth of $195 billion and then by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is worth $177 billion.

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