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Now You're Talking Turkey

Updated on July 12, 2017

Doing business in Turkey

A Lens of Business Development Experiences in Turkey.

Step 1. Get yourself to Turkey.

Step 2. Get a haircut and a real job.

Step 3. Enjoy!

The Turkish people are generally friendly and helpful and Turks love to shop. Turkey's location - bridging Europe and Asia, with a rich history and beautiful environment is great for tourism. Turkey's Black Sea, Aegean and Mediterranean beaches are ideal locations for retirement or summer home investors. Turkey is rapidly growing and changing and so there are many opportunities for investment in infrastructure or helping to increase productivity in agriculture and horticulture, energy and manufacturing industries. Turks are getting into sport and recreation. They highly value education. With the move to join Europe, Turkey needs business reforms and marketing. Lots and lots of opportunities for doing business in Turkey.

Are you Talking Turkey? - What's your experience of Turkey?

How well do you know Turkey?

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Welcome Home to Turkey

Getting to Turkey

From New Zealand (the ends of the earth)

In September 2003 we packed all of our belongings into suitcases and flew from Auckland, New Zealand to Izmir, Turkey. We were traveling with an infant and to release other passengers from that stress we had a couple of whole day stopovers in USA and Germany. The trip took us about four days - about 24 hours in the air. The alternative route through Asia is not much different - 22 hours in the air. Jet lag lasted about three or four days.

A potential/future business partner met us at the airport. We stayed in a friend's apartment and had one week while they were away to find an apartment, furniture and survival Turkish.

Our apartment was in an area where the locals were used to foreigners. It was cheap (about 1/4 the price we were paying in NZ) and close to public transport and a language school.

Residence permits are required for car ownership and connecting services (electricity, water, telephone, internet) in your own name. Often Turkish friends or foreigners who have permits will sign up for you.

Obtaining a residence permit requires forms, passports with photocopies of your last entry to Turkey, photographs, marriage certificates translated into Turkish and proof of financial support (money in a Turkish account). So applying for a long term residence permit before you spend your start up cash is a good idea.

You can apply for a work visa from your home country, but if you are exploring business opportunities it is advisable to spend some time in language and culture learning on a tourist or student visa first. Visa fees and terms vary from country to country - New Zealanders can get a three month tourist visa for free. Applications for work permits from withing Turkey require a current residence permit.

Once you've got somewhere to live and some of the initial paperwork sorted, it is time to get a haircut and a real job.

A book for surviving your first week in Turkey - The start of your Turkey Reference Library

Learning Turkish

Turkish is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around 10–15 million native speakers in Southeastern Europe and 55–60 million native speakers in Western Asia.

The Turkish alphabet has 29 characters, with eight vowels. When you have learnt how to pronounce these you can read and say Turkish words with confidence because the language is phonetic.

Learning grammar is more difficult. Sentences end with the verb so the phrase "Learn Turkish!" in Turkish is "Türkçe ögren!", literally "Turkish learn!".

Words are agglutinated with tense and pronoun word stems added as suffixes to form long words. I have struggled with this, often talking about myself in the third person because I forget to add the "-im/ım/um/üm" suffix for "I/me/my".

Adjusting to the culture

Turks are very hospitable and friendly people. As a business person, you will want to make friends and connections with people.

Many Turks learn English and especially in the major cities you will find Turks who are willing to practice their English with you and help with all sorts of things as you adjust to Turkey. You will find that Turkish culture may be quite different to your own.

A good way to start to fitting into the culture is to get a Turkish haircut.

Teach Yourself Turkish Complete Course Audiopackage
Teach Yourself Turkish Complete Course Audiopackage
You can use Teach Yourself Turkish Complete Course to learn at your own pace or as a supplement to your classwork. This complete course utilizes the very latest learning methods in an enjoyable and user-friendly format. The new edition also features: Engaging visual materials such as menus, photographs, signs, and tickets Two CD recordings allowing quick and easy access to individual lessons and exercises A clear, accessible new page design Strong, striking cover photography

Building trust

Turks have a low level of trust and often are more trusting of foreigners than of their own people. It takes lots of time and tea drinking to build relationships.

For example, I met a lawyer in a neighborhood park when our sons were playing together. He spoke excellent English and we started talking about what we did. When he discovered I do web design, he said he wanted a website. However, it took a full year of getting to know each other before we even started to work on the website project.

© 2014 Peter Murray

Reader Feedback - Share your Turkey experience

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am convince to visit Turkey to experience what you have experience.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      overall good sources and definitely good idea but i think you should also mention information technology in your top business list,anyway 5 star for this lens !!

      Thanks For Sharing

      Typo3 Extension

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      9 years ago

      As always, another great lens about Turkey!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens and greato information. Turkey's position in the region is becoming more and more domminant.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I like Turkey! Good source of information here! 5 stars from me :)


      Latest information and news for holidays to Turkey

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Well, I gobbled up all the information about Turkey you had to present. Haven't been there, but we were near with our recent unforgettable!!! visit to Athens and Crete, Greece.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      looks like Turkey is not only a place to do business, it can be a great place to live also. Well done lens!

    • Karendelac profile image


      13 years ago

      Hello Peter, I rated your lens 5 stars for being so organized and complete. Please take a moment to view my State of the Art Titanic lens. Best of Holiday Cheer, Karen

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Good information about credit card. That's a 5 star rating from me. You can find all type of credit card news from my lens. If you have some time, please feel free to check it out.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Great lens, gave it 5*. Have a look at my lens on management and business courses.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      I love your lens,

      It is very informative.

      Thank you

    • delia-delia profile image


      13 years ago

      very interesting lens 5*check out my lens on a war medal from Turkish (Ottoman Empire) Gallipoli Star Medal of WW1

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Great lens...5 stars!!!

      Drop by my lens :)

      Heroic Animals

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Nice one

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Excellent information!

      Thanks for sharing.


    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • geeky247 profile image


      13 years ago from USA

      Fascinating! Well done!

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Great site with real info about life and business in Turkey. A true must read.


    • profile image


      13 years ago

      hmmmm great work done !!

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      nice lens and great work,

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Great job! 5 stars...

      Drop by and visit my lens

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      I dream to go to Turkey..I like the place...

      Beautiful LENS..

      All the best!!!


    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Nice lens. I like the info you have provide.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      I'd love to go to Turkey. Thanks for the information. :-)

      I have a lens on computer printers which you are your readers may be interested in.

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 

      13 years ago

      Wow! Turkey is such a very historical. I would love to visit someday. Great job! Congrats!

    • grannyann lm profile image

      Ann Scaling Tucker 

      13 years ago from Enid, OK

      We lived in Izmir for three years and I went back some years later to visit friends. The people are GREAT, the food is delicious and the shopping is wonderful. Be sure and go see all the ruins and beaches. Also go to the resorts at Marmara. Go shopping in the old market places (alley shops).

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Is this the right kind of turkey?

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      great lens 5 stars 4 u

    • Sisters LM profile image

      Sisters LM 

      13 years ago

      Interesting lens! Our older brother spent some time in Turkey while a pilot in the USAF and brought back rugs and souvenirs for the family.

      Check out our TRAVEL JOURNALS on our lenses: ALASKA THE WILD and GREAT JOURNEY WEST.

    • Bob Druwing profile image

      Bob Druwing 

      13 years ago from Van Nuys, CA

      Nice informative lens! I met a Turkish woman this year and have come to learn that she is the finest woman on Earth!

    • Travel Shepherd profile image

      Michael Shepherd 

      13 years ago from Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland

      Great job, Peter.

      I'll have to do something similar for It's Greek to Me.


    • teamlane profile image


      13 years ago

      Great lens. My husband lived in Ankara as a kid and through sports was able to travel in Turkey to places likes Istanbul, Izmir, Karamursel, etc. You've done a fine job here and congrats on LOTD. 5* :o)

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Turkey is fascinating: beautiful scenery, history, culture, biblical sites, delicious food, friendly people and great barbers.

    • profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      13 years ago

      Your story certainly captured my interest and gave me new insight. One thing that makes me a happy woman is to learn at least one new thing a day, thanks for helping me be happy today :) Best to you and yours on your new venture!

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 

      13 years ago

      Congrats for being the LotD! Great travel lens!

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Hi Peter, awesome lens. Interesting experience you have. :D

    • profile image


      14 years ago

      Nice Lens. If you're online elsewhere (i.e. blogging) send me your site. I'd love to check it out. I'm sure I could learn much from your business experiences here. I live in Adana and am teaching English for a living, but would love to find something more concrete over time.


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