Doing Business In Turkey

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Researching the Market

Why Turkey?

Turkey Map
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Turkey is rapidly emerging as a high-growth market for many businesses. Indeed, the country is already Europe's sixth and the world's seventeenth largest economy. Its recent economic growth record, its talented, young workforce and its geographical location as a prime hub for regional market access make Turkey a hugely attractive destination for UK and European trade and investment.

The political, economic and legal reform processes underway as part of Turkey's drive towards membership of the European Union are key factors in encouraging new businesses to grow and prosper here. Although current worldwide economic problems are having an effect on Turkey and growth has slowed over the past year or so, the medium- and longterm importance of this market cannot be overlooked.

Now is the right time to explore the prospects for your business in Turkey. With its many and varied opportunities, doing business in Turkey can be highly rewarding for those who are well prepared.

The business environment is little different from anywhere else. In Turkey you will find the same keen competitiveness, the same thirst for high quality and the same insatiable appetite for trade. Like any new market, if you want to be successful and fully realise your potential, it is crucial to understand the culture and how business operates locally. However, the challenges of market entry should not be underestimated, and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) provides a full service to prospective investors in Turkey.

Your Aims

Do you wish to buy from Turkey, sell to Turkey or both?
Do you wish to establish your own company presence
in Turkey, for example through a representative office,
limited liability company or joint stock company?
Do you need to be involved in Turkey at all?

Your Company

What are the unique selling points for your
product or service?
Do you know if there is a market for your
product in Turkey?
Do you know if you can be competitive in Turkey?
Do you have the time and resources to handle the
demands of communication, travel, product delivery
and after-sales service?

Your knowledge

Do you know how to secure payment for your
products or service?
Do you know where in Turkey you should start?
Do you know how to locate and screen potential
partners, agents or distributors?

Taking the Strategic Approach

Doing business with Turkey can be challenging, but taking a strategic approach is the key to making the process manageable. The first step is to spend some time thinking about your company's Turkey objectives.

The ten questions listed to the right should help you to focus your thoughts. Your answers to them will highlight areas for further research and also suggest a way forward that is right for your company. You may then want to use this as a basis for developing a formal Turkey strategy, although this will not be necessary or appropriate for all companies.

Sources of Information

Before You Begin

Carrying out the exercise above will help you gain a clearer idea of what you want to achieve, and will enable you to focus your research. However, before you begin, there are some things to bear in mind…

Firstly, there's the geography of the country to contend with. Turkey is big - with an area of 779,452 sq km (300,950 square miles). Turkey borders Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria with easy land and sea access to the Gulf States, Near East and North Africa.

Turkey is divided into seven regions :

  • Marmara region

  • Aegean region

  • Black Sea region

  • Mediterranean (Southern) region

  • Anatolian plateau

  • Eastern Anatolia

  • South Eastern Anatolia

The first four are named for their neighbouring seas; the other three are landlocked. Only Marmara is not wholly within Anatolia. Anatolia is dominated by a high plateau region, rising progressively towards the east and broken by the valleys of some 15 rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. There are numerous lakes including Lake Van, which is really an inland sea. In the north the chain of the Ponitine Mountains runs parallel to the Black Sea; in the south, the Taurus Mountains border the narrow, fertile coastal plain.

Desk Research

Turkey also has many of the characteristics of both a European and a Middle Eastern country. It has to live with the competing cultures of secularity and Islam. It has a rich and varied history and has seen a large number of different empires rise and fall. It is a country of profound national pride but which has some idiosyncrasies born of its unique location as the bridge between Europe and Asia.

Doing Business in Turkey -
A Profile for Success

What is the right approach to Turkey?

The following points illustrate the type of approach
that companies doing business successfully in
Turkey often take.

  • Leave your preconceptions at home.

  • It's all too easy to be overawed by the
    challenges, but keep hold of your business
    sense as tightly as you would anywhere else.

  • Do your homework on the market and on
    potential partners.

  • Patience is a virtue. Some things may take
    longer to set up than you think (especially
    if they involve bureaucracy), so allow for
    this in your preparations.

  • Take a long-term approach, but don't stick
    rigidly to your plans. Things often change
    rapidly and unexpectedly in Turkey.

  • Obtaining good quality independent legal
    and professional advice is essential.

  • If your product is in danger of being
    copied or counterfeited, seek specialist
    legal advice on how best to protect your
    intellectual property rights (IPR).

  • Don't forget to carry out due diligence

  • Take account of social and business
    customs in Turkey.

You may have been told that Turkey is a "difficult" market or that it's hard to make money there. Yes, things might go terribly wrong, but that is a risk that you take when doing business anywhere. There are many UK companies of all sizes currently doing well in Turkey. There's no reason why yours shouldn't be one of them.

You will be able to find out much valuable free information from carrying out desk research.
A good place to start is the UK Trade & Investment website: which provides detailed country and sector information. Registering on the website, which is free, provides you with a number of additional benefits such as access to business opportunities, sector and market reports and information alerts. It also enables you to selfmanage the information you receive.

The Turkish-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TBCCI) and the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (BCCT) have a large amount of good quality information on Turkey, and both sites provide links to other useful websites. Up-to-date information on political and economic developments in Turkey, as well as information on aspects of doing business there, can also be found in the business press and trade magazines. Credit and financial reports can be obtained for Turkish companies from the Turkish-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (in London) and the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (in Istanbul).

Once you have gained a clearer idea of the Turkey market and what you want to achieve, it is time to start making contact with the specialists and exploring what kind of tailored research you might need to make an effective entry into the market. UK Trade & Investment offers a range of services to businesses. There are also many professional and legal firms, as well as private sector consultancies, which provide services to companies looking to do business with Turkey.

Useful Contacts

UK Trade & Investment International Trade Teams

In England, UK Trade & Investment provides support for UK companies through a network of international trade teams (ITTs) based in the English regions. UK Trade & Investment services are also available to companies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As well as providing general help and advice on all aspects of exporting, the ITTs run a wide range of roadshows, seminars and other events on Turkey and other markets.

To find your nearest International Trade Adviser, call +44 (0)845 600 9006 or use the database at

UK Trade & Investment's Turkey Business Advisers are business executives who provide free consultation and can supply practical advice and assistance on trading with Turkey.

The current list can be downloaded from

There are also dedicated Trade and Investment teams at the British Embassy in Ankara, the Consulate-General in Istanbul and the Consulate in Izmir. Addresses and switchboard numbers can be found here

UK Trade & Investment services for business

Advice and support

• Passport to Export - an assessment and skills-based programme that provides new and inexperienced exporters with the training, planning and ongoing support they need to succeed overseas.

Information and opportunities

• Overseas Market Introduction Service - focused business advice and visit support from trade and investment teams in our Posts overseas.

• Export Marketing Research Scheme - this service provides companies with the facility to collect systematic and objective market research to assist in the development of a market entry strategy (managed by British Chambers of Commerce).

• Business Opportunities - free internet-based service matching UK companies with international opportunities identified by trade and investment teams in our Posts overseas.

• Aid-Funded Business - advice on business opportunities that are created through Multilateral Development Agency projects.

Private Sector Assistance

There is a wide variety of private sector advice available for companies wishing to do business in Turkey. This ranges from the business services provided by the big international legal and professional services firms to specific services provided by specialist operators.

The range of services available from the private sector includes company structuring, marketing, translation and interpreting, website design, partner selection, due diligence, legal services, advice on intellectual property rights and outsourcing. Some consultancies also offer more in-depth assistance on developing a Turkey strategy and operational management.

In addition, consultancies and universities with Asian Studies departments hold short workshops for business people on aspects of doing business in Turkey.

Lists of consultancies and legal companies who specialise in Turkey can be downloaded from

Source - UKTI


Strategic Partners