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Tips for Doing Business in Turkey

Turkey

As the most eastern country in the West and the most western country in the East, Turkey is a natural bridge between East-West, North-South and Europe-Asia. This 37th-largest country has seven neighboring countries — Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria — and it has 77.7 million inhabitants.

Quick Facts 
CapitalAnkara
Financial CenterIstanbul
Head of StatePresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan (since 2014)
Head of GovernmentPrime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (since 2014)
Ruling PartyThe Justice and Development Party (AKP)
Land Mass770,760 km² (297,592 mi²)
Sea and Water9,820 km² (3,792 mi²)
CurrencyTurkish lira (TRY=100kurus)
LanguageTurkish (official), other minority languages
ReligionMuslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2%
Telephone Code+90
Time ZoneGMT +2

Beside its favorable geographical position and demography, supported by a stable microeconomic policy framework, solid banking sector, and dynamic and mature private sector, Turkey’s booming economy tripled its GDP to U.S. $800 billion in 2014, from U.S. $231 billion in 2002. It did so through stable economic growth, with an average annual real GDP growth rate of 4.7 percent. That has made Turkey, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union and the 16th-largest economy in the world.

Turkey is the access point to 1.6 billion customers, $26 trillion of GDP and $8 trillion trade volume of 56 countries in Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa within less than four hours’ flight. This fact has already motivated more than 41,000 companies with international capital to establish a presence in Turkey.

Other attractions for investors are growing domestic consumption by the prospering middle class and large young, well-educated workforce, which can be clearly seen in the below figures.

 20022014
Per capita income ($)3,49210,404
Consumer loans (B$)2.269
Labor Force (Million)21.6*28.7
Number of shopping centers60342**
Motor vehicle in traffic (Million)4.69.8
Air travellers (Million)33166
Broadband Internet Subscribers (Million)0.139.9
Mobile Phone Subscribers (Million)2371.9
Credit Card Users (Million)1657

*This data belongs to 2005.
**http://www.milliyet.com.tr/iste-turkiye-deki-avm-sayisi/ekonomi/detay/1957430/default.htm

With high variety of opportunities and equal treatment for all investors, doing business in Turkey can be highly rewarding for those who are well prepared.

Interesting business facts about Turkey:

  • Largest youth population compared with the EU
  • Free trade agreement (FTA) with more than 22 countries
  • Customs Union with EU since 1996
  • Half Turkey’s population was under the age of 30.7 in 2014.
  • Avoidance double taxation agreement with 73 countries
  • R&D and Innovation Support Law
  • Tax benefits and incentives in Technology Development Zones, Industrial Zones and Free Zones
  • Total volume of imports was U.S. $242.2 billion in 2014.
  • 245 destinations in 105 countries across four continents can be reached by Turkish Airlines, making it fourth in the world by number of destinations.
  • Sixth-most-popular tourism destination in the world, with 35.5 million foreign visitors in 2012

TURKEY ARTICLE AUTHOR PICTSezin Ata is a consultant at FMConsulting. She can be reached at s.ata@fmconsulting.com.