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Doing business in Turkey: Essential tips

Turkey, where Europe meets Asia, offers access to the Black Sea, Central Asia and the Middle East. This is how it has become a key strategic hub for multinationals.

50 countries lie at a within a 4-hour long flight from Istanbul. On the back of its geo-economic relevance, Turkey is becoming a significant source of business opportunities. For Spain, which lacks access to both the Middle East or Central Asia, it is strategically essential to access those markets in collaboration with Turkish companies. BBVA offers a clear example of this approach: in 2015 it became the largest shareholder in Turkish bank Garanti.

Turkey is a key country for the West and the European Union. It contributes to the global system as a member of the G-20, is one of the co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, led by the United Nations, and was candidate to one of the non-permanent member spots assigned by the Western Europe and Other States Group (WEOG) of the security Council of the United Nations for the 2015-2016 mandate.

Some aspects to take into account when starting a business

It is currently possible to incorporate a company in just one day, filing out the application at the pertinent Book of Companies’ office, along with the required documentation. Through its official webpage, the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) promotes an investment climate in the country and provides all the relevant information for such purpose.

–  Conditions of employment. Are basically governed by the Labor Law and by the Trade Union Law.   The net minimum wage is US$ 403.9 and job contracts are not subject to stamp duties or any other tax or tariff.

–   Turkey’s investment incentives system.  The new investment incentives came into force on January 1st, 2012.   The primary objectives of the new investment incentives scheme include reducing the current account deficit and increasing the level of support instruments.

Investment legislation. Turkey’s investment legislation is simple and complies with international standards, while it offers equal treatment for all investors.

–  Special Investment Zones. There are three types of special investment zones in Turkey:   Technology Development Zones : Technoparks (areas designed to support R&D activities and attract investments in high technology fields), organized industrial zones (designed to allow companies to operate within an investor-friendly environment) and  free zones (special sites considered to be outside the customs area, although they are within the political borders of the country)

What is it like to do business in Turkey?

– Business in Turkey, just as in many other countries across the world, is based on trust. The Turkish people are very friendly and down-to-earth, both at a physical and social level. Except for some exceptions, business is generally conducted following Western customs, where devoting time to establish a somewhat deeper mutual understanding that helps improve and consolidate relationships becomes an essential part of the process.

Avoid controversial political and religious issues. Family, Turkish history, tourism or soccer are the most common and safer topics to talk about. From either a cultural, political and economic perspective, never confuse Turkey with an Arab country.

Turks appreciate punctuality, and being late may be taken as a sign of poor manners.

– It is advisable to accept invitations to tea (çay) or Turkish coffee (turk kahvesi), which are quite customary during meetings.  Tea is the second most popular drink in the country, and is present in almost all social meetings in the culture.

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