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Establishing your own business or working in Turkey


Turkey's population is around 70 million and the population growth rate is around 1.5%. The local civilian work force is more than 24 million. The population is much younger compared to European countries (approximately 70% of the population is below the age of 35). Turkey shall continue to constitute one of the largest populations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The official language is Turkish. However, many Turkish businessmen speak and conduct transactions in English. French, German and Russian are also widely used for business. Islam is the dominant religion, but Turkey is a secular state.

Turkey, situated at the crossroads where two continents meet, is an ideal centre for investors looking for a location at the heart of Euro-Asia. With its dynamic and growing economy, huge market, competitive and skilled labour force, Turkey offers numerous opportunities to international investors. The liberal foreign investment legislation and the experience of more than 18,000 foreign capital firms ensure a stable and reliable investment environment.

The involvement of foreign capital is highly encouraged in Turkey's privatisation program, South-East Anatolian Project (GAP) and major infrastructure projects. Petroleum and natural gas pipelines from the Russian Federation and CIS countries place Turkey at the crossroads of world's future energy resources. Turkey invites international investors from all countries and business sectors to take place in such a promising investment environment.

There has been a considerable increase in the number of companies with foreign capital since the new “Foreign Direct Investment Law” came into force on June 17, 2003. Those established between this date and the end-2007 shows an increase of 180% compared to those before June 17, 2003. According to data, 10,720 out of 18,308 companies are of EU origin, in which Germany leads with 3,125 companies followed by the United Kingdom with 1,831 companies. On the other hand the total amount of FDI inflows in 2007 reached $ 22 billion, compared to $ 20 billion in 2006.

Investment Advisory Council

The first meeting of the Investment Advisory Council for Turkey (IAC), chaired by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, brought together the CEOs of 19 international companies, the country’s four leading business associations, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund to share perspectives with the Prime Minister, Minister of State Ali Babacan and Minister of Finance Kemal Unakitan on how Turkey could enhance its competitive position in the world economy on March 15th, 2004. In line with the priorities set by the IAC, a discernible progress has been made in improving the investment climate. As decided by the Council, an interim progress report is prepared and submitted to the Prime Minister and Council Members. The report contains comprehensive information and detail about the progress made on the identified priorities and highlights areas where work is underway.

The second meeting, participated by CEOs of 19 multinational companies from 11 countries, was held in Istanbul on April 29th, 2005. President of IMF Rodrigo de Rato, deputy president of World Bank Shengman Zhang, president of European Investment Bank Philippe Maystadt also participated in meeting.

Third Investment Advisory Council Meeting participated by 20 multinational companies’ CEOs from 11 countries and 12 different sectors was held in Istanbul on June 29, 2006. The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mr.Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also participated by Ms. Anne O. Krueger from IMF, Mr. Shigeo Katsu from World Bank, Mr. Philippe Maystadt, President of European Investment Bank and representatives from Turkish private sector.

The fourth Investment Advisory Council Meeting was held in Istanbul on June 11, 2007 and the fifth one on June 18, 2008.

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