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Business Culture in Turkey

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Have you ever been to Turkey?

How familiar are you with Turkish culture? 

How familiar are you with Turkish business culture? 

Have you ever thought of running a business in Turkey?

Have you ever thought of studying in Turkey?

How much are you cognizant of business etiquette in Turkey?

Business culture in Turkey is about cultural factors in communication, etiquette, meetings, relationship etiquettes and others. Here, the writer aims to give a guideline to everyone thinking about living and working in Turkey. 

Turkey is surrounded by the Mediterranean, Black, and Aegean sea and is located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, which connects southern Europe to southwestern Asia.Turkey borders Iran , Nakhchivan, Armenia to the east, Iraq, Syria to the southeast, Bulgaria to the northwest, Greece to the west, and Georgia to the northeast. 

Turkey comprises seven sections nominated Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Mediterranean (Southern), Anatolian plateau, Eastern Anatolia, and South Eastern Anatolia. The country’s capital is Ankara, and Istanbul is the most populated metropolitan city with 11 million population. The European part of the country covers 3% of the area with 10% of its citizens. 

Therefore the country has a particular geographical position, a gate between two continents, and has a conspicuous growth potential that attracts many investors. Turkey follows a policy that allows investors to run a business in different aspects, but the prime condition to run a successful business is being aware of Turkey’s business culture

In this article, the writer endeavors to bring you brief and helpful information about the country and business etiquette in Turkey and hopes to give you a comprehensive perspective on being a foreigner in Turkey. 

Turkish business culture

Turkey’s policy follows the direction that leads to an open economy with a high growth perspective. With the help of the International Monetary Fund(IMF), Turkey’s industrialized market has emerged. Most exports are machinery, vehicles, and textiles such as cloth, clothes, and knitted and crocheted goods.

Turkey is a fulfilling ambiance for investors, business owners, and merchants. About nine out of ten companies in Turkey belong to non-nations. Foreigners run businesses in different fields such as banks, supermarkets, gas stations and various sectors. Some of the business attractions in Turkey are low taxes and lower labor payments. 

Most people in business prefer to keep the business base in their county and install a new branch in Turkey. In this case, running a thriving business needs to be informed about the business culture in Turkey. There are some business cultural differences in Turkey, considered Turkish business etiquette. If you get information in this field, you will be able to compromise and push forward your business. 

The writer tries to draw your attention to some prime issues in business culture in Turkey that you need to get some information about to smooth your business path.

1. Meeting

Although people feel a sense of relaxation and convenience with a familiar business partner, meetings show a fair amount of official formalities. Remember you need to be on time, but you would better know it is accepted in business etiquette in Turkey that attendees may be waiting for a while before starting the meeting.

According to business etiquette in Turkey, business owners hand in their business cards when they make up their minds to establish a business relationship; thus, if you are not given a business card, please consider it a polite refusal of cooperation. 

Non Alcoholic beverages and other refreshments are available during a conversation. Except coffee and tea are served at break time. Then there is no concern of being thirsty or starving if the conversation takes a long time.

The Turkish are famous for their hostility, and this culture affects Turkish business culture. Thus you may be surprised when you realize conversation wanders around different topics and attendees are talking about the points at hand. 

It would be best if you did not hurry to go directly to the purpose of the meeting; otherwise, you will be considered rude. According to Turkish business culture, as an acceptable attendee, you would better let social conversation proceed to serious business talks. 

Based on business culture in Turkey, the first meeting between business parties usually circulates getting familiar; you go too far if you expect to reach a result at the first meeting.

As a piece of valuable advice, it is better to emphasize the benefits of both business parties and the visibility of your business parties. Sometimes the expected winning card is not to reach a financial benefit; the potential prestige you demonstrate during the meeting brings the most incentive, influence, and power.

You have to accept the business etiquette in Turkish in drawing out decisions. It is usual to have a meeting with subordinate members of a company. 

If you gain esteem in their eyes, you can move on to the negotiation with high-ranking company members; then, the decision will be made by the head or manager of the company. It would be best if you patiently let the process pass the routines. 

2. Relationship

Turkish business etiquette is based on nepotism or family-owned business. Although globalization introduced multinational business companies, business culture is still personal.

Your winning card mainly depends on your ability to build strong relationships with business owners. Turkish etiquette business accepts investors who demonstrate feelings of trust and behave conveniently.

Whenever you treat them insincerely, Turkish business owners feel a sense of suspicion and become unwilling to accompany you. Remember, negotiation embeds long business corporation goals. 

Therefore, please don’t put them under time pressure, for instance, an expiring offer.

You are expected to approach any deal you have in your mind if you raise a fruitful relationship. It will help if you carry the win-win scenario and keep these positive attitudes.  

3. Negotiation

Turks love bargaining. If you want to win in your deal, engage in bargaining. There is a general expectation in Turkish business culture that the first offered price will wind up at the end of the deal. The first price is hardly accepted. Therefore please be careful; they may push you to quote a figure and refuse immediately. 

Before attending a bargain, it is better to consider the bottom-line figure. Regarding Turkish business etiquette, Turkish business owners can carry techniques to discern your answers. The prices usually rise 40% between the initial and bottom-line prices. 

Prepare yourself for multiple offers over the initiated offer during the negotiation. Your winning card is to  have a target price in mind, working on it slowly and granting reasonable concessions while simultaneously carrying a lenient behavior to show your respect toward them. 

As a routine behavior in Turkish business culture, business owners may show that they are uninterested in deals, so you feel like finding a way to persuade them. For the last strategy, show that you are ready to cut the losses legitimately and leave the deal if it is terrible. 

Keep in mind Turkish may reckon you have the upper hand in the deal as you traveled for the meeting. They ultimately know that people do not like to return empty-handed from a journey.

At tiger paw, do not set dead-line or any high-pressure tactics and also, it is not wise to start with your best offer to put them under pressure.      

4. Consideration

You would better know some considerations to gain Turkish respect and trust.

First, it is imperative in Turkish business culture to call staff by their literal rank within the company.

It is unwise to schedule meetings during Ramadan or the Turkish summer holidays from July to August.

Most Turkish citizens are muslims; therefore, be aware that all meetings would be interrupted during prayer time. If you do not want to encounter meeting interruptions, set the meeting in the morning before the midday prayer or after lunch.

Turkish business culture prefers solid relationships and direct communication to phone calls. Remember, emails are responded to too late.

Note that according to business culture in Turkey, it is a custom to invite guests to eat out and set a meeting. Keep in mind refusing the invitation to dine out is impolite.

It is easy to be trapped in underestimating Turkish people as they are unwilling to boast about their achievements. It would help if you prepared a list of your partner’s background to dissect and discern.

Based on the corruption percentages index, Turkey has 78th rank out of 180 countries, equivalent to a score of 47. Thus the corruption level in Turkey is moderate.

Tips on Turkish Business Culture

Tukey is an ongoing country linked to a cosmopolitan market, appealing to many overseas investors due to exceptional and tempting facilities such as low taxes, low labor payment, and a young working population. Doing business with Turkish is not a tough deal if you know how to make a strong and long relationship with Turkish.  

1. Trust is the Key Point To

Turkish business owners are sincere and friendly. They give high value to trustworthy partners. Therefore they do business based on trust, friendship, and responsibility. Your key point is to build personal relationships aside from your business contact.

2. Be Respectful to Cultural Values

The other item in running a thriving business in Turkey is to respect cultural values. Turkish citizens pride their history and culture and expect you to show the same manner.

3. Negotiating Takes Time, Be patient.

In Turkey, a hierarchical administration and decisions are made by upper-ranking people in a company. In the first step, you have an appointment with lower-ranking staff. If you gain steam in their eyes, you will have a chance to have a meeting with the leading executives. You must be 

informed about Turkey’s business culture; decisions are made slowly. If you lose your temper, you flip your chance. 

Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Turkey

In one sentence, Turkish people are hospitable, polite, and professional. They are famous for their hard-working behavior. There is a fact that Turks are opposed to any other nationalities taking a job that Turkish citizens can carry. 

Most foreigners are hired by international agencies that need natives in their branches in Turkey. Other fields that absorb foreigners are teaching, whether in schools or universities.  

It is better to contact a company that offers a job and sign a contract rather than come to Turkey and look for a job. When you find a job in a short period, you can apply for a working visa and residency permit.

The bottom line is that Turkish citizens like acquainting with people who want to do business with them or invest in their projects. They prefer to work with reliable people who can make a long and solid relationship. 

Cultural taboos

Being aware of cultural taboos in Turkey and knowing the dos and don’ts helps make solid and close relationships. You need to know the norms of society to be accepted by the citizens and avoid being judged rude and unloyal. The official religion in Turkey is Islam, and their daily life is affected by Islam rules. Thus the key to being successful in Turkish society is to abide by their values.

The writer provides some tips to consider while communicating with Turkish people.

The family has a higher place, do not disrespect their family

It is customary in Turkey to stand close to their partner while speaking. They prefer short space during a conversation, and there is nothing to be apprehensive about.  

Be conscious of your body language; it may cause misunderstanding.

  • While taking, do not stand with hands in the pocket or do not put your hand on your hip
  • Do not point someone with a finger
  • Do not make an “ok” sign with your hand

International business in Turkey

Turkey is a country with an open economy system with thriving future growth, which provides golden opportunities for international investors. More than having potential ventures, the prime condition to be part of this profitable economic growth is to be informed about Turkish business culture and etiquette. 

Getting acquainted with the way Turkish people do business guarantees your business achievement. Up to here, the writer focused on Turkish values and attitudes; the aim was to make you familiar with Turkish business culture and smooth your way to achieve business success. Next, the writer explains education and training in Turkey.

1. General education

Turkey’s national education system is provided mainly by the government. 6 to 18 years old children must go to school. Children pass 12 years of systemic education and get a diploma. In march 2021, legislation introduced by Grand National Assembly extremely compels public education for children 6 to 12 years old. 

Some informal institutes teach based on new procedures, Turkey’s Ministry of National Education (MEB) is governed by and provides knowledge, skill, and professions necessary for personal development.

After completing compulsory education, students who want to continue studying at a higher level must pass the National Entrance Examination or OSS exam. Students should pay a fee to study at a higher education institute, but students can get financial support if they do not have enough funds to study at university.

2. Education standards

Access and quality of public education have continuously been raised by The Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey. In recent years the ministry of national education in Turkey has aimed to leverage, straighten, and upgrade the education system. 

The main effort is to increase attendance at compulsory educational systems and enhance the uptake rate at other education levels, particularly the pre-school level.

Turkey has a high rate of young population and gives high interest in the public education system to develop individuals who will make a modern scholarly society.  

Other issues such as transport infrastructure

Turkey has a particular transportation system, and a capable transportation system is vital for social and economic growth. The country is improving its transportation system to facilitate foreign trade and tourism.

– Traveling By Public Transport

Turkey has different forms of public transportation, such as buses, trains, and others. 

Buses are a dominant form of the public transportation system, cheap and frequent. Although there are some companies, which provide modern buses, the majority of buses are inconvenient.

Coins and tickets are used for the public transportation system. However, 60% of people use smart tickets called Akbil, with an electronic chip. The free connection between different transportation forms makes traveling affordable. 

– Traveling By Train

The train is a safe and rapid transportation system, particularly in bad weather conditions. These days the government invests significant capital in railways. The railway under the Bosphorus strait is a high-speed train generation for transferring passengers and freight. 

– Traveling by Taxi

Taxis are available in every country and with black and yellow checkers. They work with a metering system, and the base fare is almost 3 LT. Please keep in mind taxi fare is rather expensive and it is better to agree on a fare beforehand for the long-distance journey. Tipping is not routine, but leaving the change or rounding up the fare would be better.

– Traveling By Car

Turkey has high-quality roads according to the latest international standards, and the road maintenance system is one of the best in the world. However, the roads may not be the expected quality in the east and rural districts. It is recommended to drive consciously on a far-distance road and obey defensive driving rules.

– Traveling By Plane

Turkey owns five international airports and twelve domestic airports. There are private and public airlines, such as Pegasus, which is the most private affordable airline, and public Turkish Airlines. Ankara is the primary connection for domestic flights, and Istanbul airport hosts loads of overseas flights.

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