Doing Business In Turkey

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Negotiating Techniques

Some Golden Hints

Prior to entering negotiations in Turkey, you should know your bottom-line figure.

You will then need to add a percentage to this figure, making the price seemingly expensive. This is done as concessions are expected: they show compromise and a willingness to put the relationship first. When conceding on figures, work slowly towards your bottom-line figure through meaningful concessions - you present this as a decision made out of respect and liking for your counterpart.

Try to concede only once you have gained agreement on a reciprocal concession on a separate or related issue.

It is not advisable to use deadlines or pressure tactics, as the Turks may use this to their advantage and reverse the tactic by threatening to cancel agreements or end negotiations. Be patient.

The first President and founder of the Modern Republic, Kemal Ataturk, is revered and you should be careful not to say anything about him which might be construed as critical.

This information is provided by Kwintessential.

Turkey Town Picture


Turkish importers tend to use standard form contracts in their transactions. Foreign contracts are seldom accepted for fear of being trapped by unfamiliar contract stipulations.

Adding special provisions to the contract form is normally acceptable.

You can expect to see the following key terms and conditions in a Turkish import contract:Terms of price and shipment Turkish import businesses often conduct transactions at FOB prices in consideration for using Turkish shipping companies.

C&F and CIF terms are accepted only if the freight is proved to be cost-effective.


Turkish importers generally have "open insurance" for their import cargoes - ie importing companies submit notifications of import cargo shipments and other relevant documents which are then acknowledged by the insurance company as insurance orders, and against which the insurance premium will be settled with the insured. Terms of payment: this is normally by letter of credit (L/C).


Certificates of quality, quantity or weight - issued by manufacturers or public assessors - are normally required as part of the process of setting up a letter of credit. However, if the goods are discovered not to be in conformity with the certificates after re-inspection by Turkish inspection authorities, the buyer will either return the goods to the seller or lodge claims against the seller for compensation on losses on the strength of inspection at the port of destination.

In the case of equipment imports, Turkish companies often insert a clause in the contract withholding a portion of the payment - normally 5 to 10 per cent of the total contract value - which will be paid only when the equipment is installed and commissioned.

This retention sum tends to become a permanent rebate, so beware of allowing a figure too high.

Dispute resolution

In cases of dispute the formal contract has a provision that a solution must be sought through friendly consultation. If this does not work, arbitration is then adopted to settle the dispute. Litigation is only used as a last resort.

Mobilise local assets

In-country partners and agents can be of real assistance with negotiations.

Many multinationals now manage their businesses in Turkey locally, with local nationals responsible for the business in Turkey.

If you have a joint venture, even in an unrelated area of business, this knowledge of your seriousness will be of reassurance to new Turkish customers.

Face to Face


  • Maintain eye contact with your Turkish
    counterpart while speaking, as Turks take
    this as a sign of sincerity.

  • Dress conservatively. You will be expected
    to wear a suit and tie. Women should avoid
    short skirts, low-cut blouses or shorts.

  • Ensure that you greet each of your Turkish
    counterparts individually. The most common
    greeting is Merhaba but Selaminaleyküm, a
    greeting with a more religious connotation,
    can also be used.


  • Back away if your Turkish colleagues stand
    close to you during conversation. Turks do
    not require as much personal space as many
    other cultures and this may be construed as

Tricks of the Trade

Turkish negotiators are shrewd and use a wide variety of bargaining tactics. The following are just a few of the more common stratagems…

Controlling the meeting place and schedule

The Turkish know that some visitors will be reluctant to journey home emptyhanded.

Putting pressure on foreigners just before their scheduled return can often bring useful benefits to the other side.

Threatening to do business elsewhere

Foreign negotiators may be pressured into making concessions when the Turkish side threatens to approach rival firms if their demands are not met.

Using friendship to extract concessions

Once both sides have met, the Turkish side may remind the foreigners that true friends would reach an agreement of maximum mutual benefit. Make sure that the benefit is genuinely mutual and not just one-way.


Some negotiators are patient and can stretch out discussions in order to wear their interlocutors down. Excessive hospitality the evening before discussions can be another variation on this theme.


…and here are some useful tactics that may help foreign negotiators dealing with their Turkish counterparts:

Be absolutely prepared

At least one member of the foreign team must have a thorough knowledge of every aspect of the business deal. Be prepared to give a lengthy and detailed presentation, taking care not to release sensitive technological information before you reach full agreement.

Play off competitors

If the going gets tough you may let the Turkish side know that they are not the only game in town. Competition between Turkish producers is increasing. There may be other sources in the country for what your counterpart has to offer.

Be willing to cut your losses and go home

Let the Turkish side know that failure to agree is an acceptable alternative to making a bad deal.

Cover every detail of a contract before you sign it

Talk over the entire contract with the Turkish side. Be sure that your interpretations are consistent and that everyone understands their duties and obligations.

Be patient

Turks generally believe that Westerners are always in a hurry, and they may try to get you to sign an agreement before you have adequate time to review the details.

Return Visits

UK visas

The UK visa service has been complimented by major Turkish investors for its efficiency. For full information we recommend visiting - all the relevant information concerning UK visas is under "Visas for the UK" on the left-hand menu.

While the majority of visas are issued, some common problems arise:

Unfamiliarity with the procedures

New applicants for UK visas need to have interviews and sometimes are unwilling to impart the information required.
Reassure your client that the same procedures apply to all applicants.

Omitting the truth

It is an unfortunate fact that some applicants believe that they should not tell the truth to officials.
Therefore they leave vital information out of their applications which results in their being called to interview; they then compound the problem by giving contradictory information.

Last-minute rush

Unfortunately, meetings in Turkey are often arranged one day in advance.

Therefore, it does not occur to businesspeople that they need to prepare in advance for a visa application. This is particularly the case when they are visiting multiple countries and require multiple visas. With the best will in the world, given the numbers of applications - particularly in peak periods - there will be times when Turkish partners do not leave enough time to process applications.

The importance of paper

In the Turkish system, paperwork comes second to relationships. Unfortunately, this means that senior contacts can often neglect to complete visa applications themselves, and their assistants may miss vital information.

Turkish flag at sunset

The concept of "hosting"

The Turkish take the concept of being host (and you being in the role of a guest) very seriously.

Companies doing business in Turkey are often treated to a wide range of assistance, including hotels, transport, meals and evening entertainment.

Turkish companies can often lean on an extensive network of relationships to provide these without incurring direct costs, or at a substantial discount.

Unfortunately, when they are visiting the UK they expect the same, and most UK companies do not have the budget to handle all-in travel for contacts they have never done business with and are not sure they ever will do business with.

Therefore, it is best to be cautious about the extent to which hospitality is expected. Don't be rude, but do take the trouble to explain that things are different back home.

Source - UKTI


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