Topkapi Iplik (Topkapi Yarn - full name Topkapi Iplik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş) is a yarn-spinning and unfinished fabric-weaving company based on a single site on the European side of Istanbul, in Hadımköy. Topkapi's factory is located on 85,000 square meters; the rest of its 250,000-square-meter site is kept green by 15,000 trees. The company employs 450 people and has been on an aggressive modernization and growth path in the 21st century.
Topkapi Iplik’s commitment to a high-quality workplace began with its founding in 1972 by Mr.Rahmi Akinci, a man deeply committed to his religion, which for him, as for 99 percent of Turkey’s residents, was Islam. He wanted to bring to his workplace the values and aspirations he pursued in his private life. He added a business partner who shared his values, and the son of the new partner married the founder’s daughter. The couple, Mr. Mahmut Akinci and Mrs. Seher Akinci, manage the factory today. They have two children who trained in textile technology in the United States. Their son, Halit Ziya Akinci, is deeply involved now in managing the company and their daughter is learning the design side of the business. For a westerner, the factory seems strongly based in the Utopian tradition of employers who wish to make their workplaces a model.
Topkapi Iplik has pioneered in obtaining certification - it has received certification to the following standards: Oeko-Tex 100 (environment), ISO 9001 (quality assurance), ISO 14001 (environmental management), OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety), and most recently SA8000(workplace quality).
Compliance with SA8000 was suggested by a buyer, Otto Versand, in 2002. The decision to go ahead was made later in 2002, after Topkapi was successfully certified to to ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Standard. As Topkapi says in its 2007 "Profiler" (p. 10), the company did not believe that certification to SA8000 was essential immediately. Rather, the company’s management believes that "in the future, this standard will be an obligation for suppliers, because consumer consciousness is increasing." The company therefore expected that "brands and store chains targeting the middle and high-income groups would increasingly demand the SA8000 standard."
To prepare themselves for the certification audit, Topkapi hired Systain Consulting Gmbh, an affiliate of the German Otto Group, to develop required management systems. The company selected as its certification body the Los Angeles-based, SAAS-accredited Cal Safety Compliance Corporation (CSCC). The facility was certified to SA8000 within a year, in 2003. It was therefore the first facility awarded the SA8000 certificate in Turkey and the first yarn-spinning facility in all of Europe. It passed a recertification audit in 2007. In part because Topkapi Iplik sells to western buyers, it has sought validation according to western standards and it plans soon to seek the FSC certificate for the sourcing of its yarn (especially organic fiber and fiber from the kapok tree).