Turkey is self-reliant in
basic foodstuffs including sugar, maize, barley and wheat.
Cotton, tobacco, fruit, vegetables and nuts are grown for both domestic
consumption and export. A range of livestock is reared. The agricultural
sector still accounts for 15 per cent of total economic output
and is a major employer, especially of women in
the workforce, 60 per cent of whom work on the land. There is a
significant mining industry producing chromium, copper, borax and,
to a lesser extent, coal and bauxite. Manufacturing
has grown significantly during the last 20 years
with textiles, food-processing, oil-refining, chemicals and the
production of iron and steel having emerged as the most important
Tourism dominates the service sector
after a phase of quick expansion and serves as a key source of foreign
exchange, although it has suffered from the worldwide downturn following
from terrorist attacks (to which Turkey has proven especially vulnerable).
In 2002, Turkey received almost 11 million
visitors, contributing more than US$11 billion to the economy.
Economic performance between 1998 and 2002 was
poor with negative GDP growth during most of the
period (9 per cent during 2001), while inflation was between 40
and 65 per cent. There was some improvement in 2003:
inflation was cut to near 20 per cent and positive growth of 2.5
per cent was recorded. Unemployment was stable at over 10
per cent. Relations with the international financial community
have been complex. Successive governments have agreed reform programmes
based on the usual diet of deregulation and privatisation. However,
political instability has undermined government attempts to sell
utilities and key industries (including banking and food-processing).
Turkey has long hold a desire to join the European Union, having
lodged its original application in 1963. Poor economic management,
the unresolved situation in Cyprus, perennial disputes with Greece
and a bad human-rights record have combined to thwart any prospect
of EU membership. Nevertheless Europe has increasing influence over
the country; Turkish trade patterns have shifted from the
Middle East in favour of Europe, and hundreds of thousands
of Turkish workers are employed across the EU. Provided that the
2004 expansion of the EU from 15 to 25 countries (including Cyprus)
proceeds efficiently, Turkey may harbour a realistic expectation
of joining along with Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.
Italy, France and the UK
are now Turkey's major trading partners. Outside
Europe, the USA and Saudi Arabia
are also important; to the east, Turkey has built
up important economic links with the former Soviet Republics of
A formal suit or jacket and tie should at all times be worn for
business. English is widely spoken in business circles, although
an effort by the visitor to speak a little Turkish is cherished.
The majority of people in business appreciate punctuality and visiting
cards are widely used.
Office hours: Monday-Friday 0830-1200 and 1330-1730.
Summer: In the Aegean and Mediterranean regions of Turkey, government
offices and many other establishments are closed during the afternoon
in the summer months. The summer hours are preset each year by the
The following organisation can offer advice:
of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Maritime Commerce and Commodity
Exchanges of Turkey (UCCET), Atatürk Bulvar 149, Bakanliklar
Telephone: (312) 413 8000
Fax: (312) 418 3268
Antalya and Istanbul are the most popular venues, followed by Ankara,
Marmaris and Bodrum. There are many 4- and 5-star hotels, which
provide facilities and can host conferences and meetings to global
standards. Contact UKTAS,
International Congress Centre Inc, Harbiye 80230, Istanbul (tel:
(212) 296 3055; fax: (212) 224 0878). The Crowne Plaza Istanbul
has a conference centre with facilities for up to 1000 people (tel:
(212) 560 8110; fax; (212) 560 8158).