The first part of a two part story of how a young Marmaris business couple tried to keep their dream alive against unending red-tape and all the odds !

Leyla Kandemir and her husband Murat, like so many enterprising couples, had a dream to start their own business in the sun in Marmaris. After three years of planning and research that started in 2002 they finally made the decision to invest their hard earned savings to open a Nursery School.

From their research it certainly looked like there were enough potential customers for their idea, especially with  the increase in modern working Mums who had to cope with long hours through the busy tourist season.

So back in 2004 Leyla and Murat applied for all the necessary legal permissions, found a building that could be converted and set about launching ‘The School House Nursery’ based in a quiet back street in Armutalan, Marmaris. The premises were suitably modified and redecorated and equipped with over 40,000gbp of educational materials, toys, school furniture and all the other facilities that a modern ‘state of the art’ Nursery School and pre-school would need.

The couple confidently expected that all the legal formalities would be completed before the 2005 summer season started in earnest and worked hard to have everything ready by the middle of May. Unfortunately, as befalls so many budding entrepreneurs, they misjudged just how long it takes the wheels of bureaucracy to turn in Turkey!

Leyla, 38, has a Turkish father and English mother and grew up in the UK. Leyla met her husband Murat, 36, who also has Turkish/English parents, whilst on holiday in Cyprus. As frequent visitors to Turkey and enjoying dual nationality their decision to set up home in Marmaris and start their own business is certainly the fulfillment of a dream.

With a University degree and a strong educational teaching background, as well as three children of her own, and fluent in Turkish and English, Leyla was confident that she could offer a quality Nursery facility that would be a sparkling example of modern educational methods and a much needed extra resource for Marmaris working Mums.

As you may already have guessed May 2005 came and went and still the legal formalities weren’t completed by the authorities. May turned into June and June into July – still the formalities dragged on bogged down in a sea of bureaucratic red-tape – the shining new Nursery School sat quietly waiting for its first children to enjoy the hundreds of toys, games, books and playtime equipment.
By the end of August last year, with the formalities still uncompleted, Leyla and Murat were beginning to give up hope. Perhaps the dream was never meant to come true. Then, half way through September, eight months after their application, at long last the news arrived from Ankara that the school could now officially open and start to take in children. A delighted Leyla could finally open the doors and welcome her first little customers!

But no sooner had Murat and Leyla enrolled their first children and started patting themselves on the back than there came more bad news. The local authorities decided that the top floor of their rented three storey school building didn’t meet the planning regulations and couldn’t be used. Without the top floor facility it was impossible for them to keep using the building. Was this the last straw? The couple had spent tens of thousands of pounds, worked endless hours painting, decorating and preparing and waited months and months for simple paperwork to be approved – would it all now be wasted? Would they give up and call it a day?

Read the continuing story of their struggle against the odds later next week.