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Last updated : Nov 2009
Turkey Business
Turkey Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Economy

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 industries.

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.

Germany, 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 Central Asia.

Business

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 provincial governors.

Commercial Information

The following organisation can offer advice:

Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Maritime Commerce and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (UCCET), Atatürk Bulvar 149, Bakanliklar 06640, Ankara

Telephone: (312) 413 8000
Fax: (312) 418 3268
E-mail: info@tobb.org.tr

Conferences/Conventions

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).
Useful travel links
Trade Turkey about trade in Turkey
Turkey Business Information on Businesses in Turkey