Turkey

Turkey _flagThis guide is aimed at those who are considering a visit to Turkey in order to procure products and conduct business. The guide is by no means comprehensive and although the information detailed here is correct at the time of writing, we cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies or discrepancies. 

Economists have described Turkey as a ‘newly industrialised country’; it’s now among the world’s leading producers of vehicles, construction materials, electronics, textiles and equipment; to name a few. Ideally stationed between the continents of Europe and Asia, Turkey plays a pivotal role in worldwide exports. Turkey has high GPD growth of +8.49% at time of writing. This strong growth has been fuelled by growing trade, foreign investment, tourism and manufacturing.  In 1995 Turkey signed The ‘Customs union’ with the European Union, removing trade barriers and facilitating EU Trade. This caused a significant demand in increased industrial exports for EU members. Turkey is a country that is rich in natural resources; there are hopes to increase self-sufficiency with the recent discovery of new oil and gas fields. Other natural resources include gold, iron, clay, marble and mercury. 

Turkey has seven distinct geographic regions with a range of climate and weather variances. These include Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean, Black Sea coast; and Central, Eastern, and South-eastern Anatolia. These regions comprise a fusion of rolling farmland, mountains, stunning coast and ancient towns and villages; combined with bustling traditional and modern cities. The nature of your business will indicate which region you visit. The regions will vary in weather conditions, but generally summers are very hot and humid and winters differ ranging from mild to below freezing temperatures. The most pleasant time to visit is in spring and autumn months. 

Turkey has rich history and a strong culture, with European, Middle Eastern, Chinese and Indian influences. To the visitor this conveys a link between the eclectic combination of influences by European, Asian and Eastern Societies and this diversity is cherished as an asset to Turkey. Those hoping to establish and raise a presence in Turkish markets will benefit greatly from understanding the culture, history, religion and by practicing suitable Turkish business etiquette. In Turkey there is a great deal of respect for senior company members, rank, education and family. Expect business in Turkey to be formal. Dress conservatively, suits should be worn out of respect and women should be conscious of too much skin exposure; both men and women should consider wearing full length sleeves and trousers. During the summer months, still bear this in mind and wear light weight, cool but respectful clothing. Foreigners visiting for business should be punctual and polite at all times; however try not to expect your Turkish colleagues to be as punctual.  Do not schedule any trips or meetings during ‘Ramadan’ (between June-August) this is a religious period with 30 days of dedication to fasting, prayer and family.

With regards to negotiations you should be prepared for slow decision making. Usually you will meet junior members of staff before senior members. They will decide if you are trustworthy before proceeding. Upon initial meetings, you should greet senior members first, use titles and then shake hands. You should always wait for a woman to offer her hand first out of politeness. 

There are Visa requirements for business visits and conference participation. You will be required to obtain an appropriate visa from the Turkish Consulate.  For more details on the requirements and how to apply please visit http://www.turkishconsulate.org.uk/  you should check this regularly as it changes frequently. 

Your experience in Turkey will differ considerably depending on the time of year that you travel. There are plenty of hotels, guest houses and B&B’s to choose from, but prices will be subject to season and city.  Surrounding countries have influenced Turkish cuisine as much as the native culture, creating a vast array of specialities; some with strong regional connotations. Cuisine plays an important role and it is likely that you will be taken to restaurants. The concept of sharing a bill is unheard of, and the host always pays for the meal. Whilst it is polite in Western culture to offer to pay, here it is not. The best way to approach this is to graciously accept and thank the host and then initiate an invite to a restaurant of your choice at a later date. Use this as an opportunity to engage in good conversation and to get to know your business counterparts. It is important for Turks to trust you and to feel that they know you well. Your success will be defined by your capability of constructing active personal relationships, combined with a clearly outlined and well-presented proposal.

Turkish people are known to be friendly and helpful, you'll learn a lot about the country, its culture and customs by talking to people and creating strong relationships- which is fundamental to successful business.

Official Season Clarification

Spring: April-May
Summer: Mid May – September
Autumn: September – October
Winter: October - Late March

Key facts: 

  • Capital: Ankara
  • Population: 73.6million (UN, 2011)
  • Area: 779,452 sq. km (300,948 sq. miles)
  • Currency: Turkish Lira
  • International dialling code: +90
  • Official language: Turkish
  • Main exports: Clothing, textiles, fruit and vegetables, iron and steel, motor vehicles and machinery, fuels and oils.
  • Ports: Izmir, Antalya, Mersin, Haydarpasa, Ambarli, Istanbul & Aliaga.
  • Time Difference:  GMT +2 hours

Top Tips:

  • Change your currency when you have arrived in Turkey, and at exchange offices as opposed to banks; they often provide a better rate and have a faster service. If you plan on staying for a while, it is a good idea to convert currency one week at a time. The rate fluctuations within a week can be surprising.
  • Public telephones operate with phone cards, tokens and credit cards. This will be the cheapest way to stay in touch. Cards and tokens are available from Post offices. It is a safer option than using your credit card. Look at buying a SIM card for a long term solution
  • If you plan to visit a mosque in your free time, dress modestly and remove shoes before entering. Women may be asked to use a scarf to cover their heads, neck and shoulders.
  • Take care when walking around; many roads are uneven and potentially dangerous.
  • You can get around by taxi, always ask for an estimate price and for the meter to be used; alternatively you can use the ‘dolmus’ – bus.
  • Credit cards are accepted in major cities, but do not rely on them. It’s a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases, transport and tipping.
  • Public toilets are available in town centres and public places such as restaurants and mosques etc.  A small charge is expected and it can be rare to find western style toilets in some areas.
  • Eat and drink wisely, take medicines with you in case of an upset tummy. 

Important Note: The information detailed within the contents of this website is to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. We reserve the right to amend any information where we see fit.

This website may include links to third party sites and sources with which we have no involvement in regards the content.

Turkey

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