The Turkish elite is in a state of shock after one of its chosen daughters was killed when a private jet carrying her home from an overseas bachelorette party crashed into an Iranian mountain range.
Mina Basaran, 28, one of the country’s most high-profile socialites and one of its few native Instagram stars, was killed with six of her friends and three crew this weekend as they flew home from celebrations to mark her planned wedding.
Sources in Turkey told The Daily Beast that two of the other young women on board the jet were pregnant, compounding the horror of the disaster among Turkey’s close-knit elite.
Basaran, whose 100,000 social-media followers received regular updates on her gilded lifestyle, was a fixture of society parties and glossy magazine pages, and her death, a Turkish journalist told The Daily Beast, had come as a shock.
“Her father is a very well-known businessman. She was the only child of his business empire,” Nalan Koçak of Haberturk News told The Daily Beast. “She was very well known in society. And all the other ladies in the plane were also from well-known families. It is the No. 1 topic here. All the artists and society people are sharing her pictures.”
Basaran, 28, who studied for a master’s degree in luxury brand management at the European Business School in London, according to reports, had spent the weekend partying in the United Arab Emirates. She had posted pictures of her group enjoying a concert by Rita Ora in Dubai and posing on the tarmac next to the private jet.
According to The Times, she was being groomed to succeed her industrialist father, Huseyin Basaran, as the boss of Basaran Yatirim Holdings, a conglomerate he started 25 years ago.
Her father referred to her as “my princess,” Koçak said.
Koçak said that contrary to some reports suggesting a hedonistic lifestyle, Basaran was known to be hard-working and studious, and only opened her popular Instagram account after her engagement.
“She was not that into being a celebrity, she was a hard-working business woman. She was really modest, not a showoff. Her family is from Trabzon, a conservative Black Sea city. It is well known that she was ‘a good girl.’”
The Times reports that her father’s company has interests in a wide variety of industries and also holds the franchises for several Ramada hotels in Turkey. Basaran joined the executive board in 2013.
The use of a private jet to take her hen party on a glamorous trip to Dubai was typical of the perks she enjoyed in that role, but disaster struck after the plane crashed into remote mountains in western Iran on Sunday night in thick fog and rain.
She and her party had been celebrating before her marriage to Murat Gezer, a businessman, on April 14.
Basaran tried to use her profile to raise the issue of gender inequalities in the Turkish workplace, saying, in her last interview, “Unfortunately, women in our country have serious problems in social and family life.”
Villagers near the crash site said they saw the plane, reportedly a Bombardier CL604, on fire in the air, two hours after it had taken off from Sharjah airport in the Emirates.
According to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, the aircraft, which took off from Sharjah International Airport, near Dubai, on Sunday, rapidly gained altitude a little over an hour into the flight and then “dropped drastically within minutes.”