I always enjoy the time I spend on airplanes

It was 1947 or ‘48. I was ten years old. I had an uncle who was an airman, a major who worked at the airplane factory in Afyon in central Turkey.

One day he took me to the airport there. All of a sudden there was a flurry of activity. A military plane, a Dakota C47 I think, was trying to make a landing. There was a problem but we didn’t know what it was because communications were not yet very highly developed in those days. Everyone had gathered at the airport. I was just a kid and I was very excited and curious about what was going on. Suddenly a combat boot was tossed out of the plane! In it was a message that said, “Landing gear not functioning; have to make an emergency landing.” The airport officials immediately raised the Eskişehir flag, meaning “Go to Eskişehir!”, since there was a more advanced airport there. The plane circled once again and another boot was hurled at us. This time the message said, “Out of fuel. Can’t make it to Eskişehir!”
Enormous preparations were undertaken immediately and the runway was readied. And the plane, with part of its landing gear on the fritz, made a successful landing. We all shared in the joy and relief of the six-man crew of air force pilots that emerged from the cockpit.
That is my earliest memory having to do with airplanes, even though I had never even been on one. It is therefore truly moving today to see the possibilities created by modern technology since those days of communication by tossed boot. I doubt that we in Turkey, or people anywhere in the world, would have believed such rapid and impressive advances were even possible if anybody had told us fifteen years ago. I have been traveling frequently for many years, and I always enjoy the time I spend on airplanes. When I worked for the Koç Group, its founder, the late Vehbi Koç, gave strict instructions that we absolutely must use Turkish Airlines whenever were flying to a place served by it. The quality of service on Turkish Airlines, a company that represents Turkey and carries the Turkish flag to other countries, has risen exponentially over the years, and today the airline competes on a world scale. What is important of course is to maintain that quality by developing it even further. Turkish Airlines flies to many destinations in the world today. It is continually adding new routes. I have complete confidence that it will also preserve its high quality through constant and ongoing development.
Indeed, all of us must do our part to preserve Turkish Airlines, because it represents Turkey and is the apple of our eye.