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Doing Business in Turkey

Doing Business Turkey Doing BusinessTurkey

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 12:17

Turkey has trade relations with many other nations and foreign investment in Turkey has increased in recent years. Its young population and strategic location makes it a desirable market. It is a global player in the automotive, textile, construction ready-to-wear and food sectors. Here are some tips on doing business in Turkey.

Tips on making appointments

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Traffic jams are common in Istanbul and Ankara, so allow yourself plenty of travel time. However, it is permissible to arrive up to 30 minutes late.
Turkish businesspeople who deal internationally usually speak one or more foreign languages. English is common, as well as German and French. Business letters may also be in English. Still, Turks will appreciate any efforts to speak Turkish.
Do not expect to get right down to business in a meeting with a Turkish businessperson. Some preliminary 'small talk' allows him or her to get to know you.
Kubran Bayram is the most important holiday of the year. It lasts four days, but many banks and businesses close for an entire week. Resorts and transportation will be booked solid.
Use your powers of persuasion to get past secretaries when making appointments.

Tips on business dress

Turkey is very hot in the summer. Jackets and even ties may be removed in the heat. Women's clothing may be comfortable but should not be unnecessarily revealing.
Should you enter a mosque, wear appropriate clothing. Leave your shoes at the door. Women are expected to cover their heads, shoulders, and arms. Avoid visiting during prayer times or on Fridays.

Tips on gift giving

You don't have to give gifts if your Turkish colleagues entertain you only in public places, such as restaurants. If you are invited to a Turkish home a gift will be expected.
If you know that your colleague drinks, a fine whiskey or liqueur is appropriate.
Be sure to bring gifts for any children present, such as candy [especially chocolate] or small toys.

Tips on doing business

Turkey's territory lies in both Europe and Asia, and its values have always been a combination of East and West.
The pace of negotiation is quite slow. Polite negotiations may take place over plenty of cups of tea or coffee. Meetings start slowly, but it is a serious breach of etiquette to insist on getting to the point.
In a family-owned business, the key decision maker may be quite elderly. Remember that elders are always treated with deference.
Turks are proud people. Take care not to insult their company or their country.
The Turkish legal system is very complicated. Hire a good lawyer.

Tips on entertaining

Most business entertaining will take place in restaurants. You may not get the chance to act as host, since Turkish hospitality has a reputation for excellence, and your colleagues may insist upon doing all of the entertaining. You will not be allowed to pay for even part of the meal. You will only be allowed to pay if you are the host, and even then you may find it difficult.
Tea is the national drink. A concentrated tea is poured into small, tulip-shaped glasses, and water is added to taste. Sugar may be added to tea, but never milk. As the glasses are small, you will probably go through plenty of them during a meeting.
Turkish coffee is strong, and best enjoyed as an after dinner drink. Each cup is brewed individually, and the sugar is added at the time of the brewing, so you must indicate how much sugar you want. Milk is not added to Turkish coffee but is generally offered with instant or American-style coffee.
Turks will insist that you try everything they offer you. Always accept graciously. Tips on addressing people
The traditional mode of address is to use a Turk's first name, followed by bey [for men] or hanim [for women]. Address a Turkish professional by his or her occupational title alone such as "Doctor" [Doktor].
Turks may greet a close friend of either sex with a two-handed handshake and/or a kiss on both cheeks.
Tobacco is everywhere in Turkey. No-smoking areas are virtually non-existent.
Avoid blowing your nose in public, especially in a restaurant. If you must, turn away and blow as quietly as possible.
Turks indicate "yes" by nodding their heads up and down, To indicate "no", raise your eyebrows and make a "tsk" sound.

By The Gate Magazine

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