Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.
We suggest U.S. firms provide full support (i.e., product literature, technical information, budget and advertising, and promotional materials) to their Turkey-based manufacturer’s representative or agent. Potential government buyers and private-sector importers should receive catalogs and other literature clearly indicating the name and address of the local representatives/distributors.
Establishing personal contacts in Turkey is critical. Regular visits to government and private sector customers demonstrate a dedication to the market, and we encourage U.S. companies to support their in-country representatives by joining these meetings whenever possible. Each sector has its peculiarities and challenges, which means U.S. companies must develop customized marketing strategies that are responsive to their sector. Some government customers require extensive briefings, demonstrations, and trial units, while private sector customers are typically driven by cost and efficiency.
Another common and effective practice is to invite the representative/agent to the United States every year for an annual sales strategy meeting.
Common methods of sales promotion in larger Turkish cities include international trade promotion events, such as fairs, exhibitions, and seminars. These fairs provide opportunities for U.S. companies to assess and meet existing competition. Currently, there are about 70 international fair and exhibit organizers in Turkey. CS Turkey promotes attendance by prospective Turkish buyers at major trade shows in the United States and Europe. Sector specialists take Turkish business delegations to trade shows in the United States under the Trade Event Partnership Program and counsel U.S. delegations that attend European, and Middle Eastern trade shows. Likewise, the FAS organizes trade teams to U.S. agriculture and food shows. CS Turkey will continue to coordinate with other U.S. Commercial Service offices and event organizers to facilitate buyer visits to these events. The events promoted by CS Turkey are listed on CS Turkey’s website.
While the world is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, CS Turkey recommends that U.S. companies maintain regular contact with their Turkish representatives and clients through virtual platforms as part of an active relationship marketing strategy.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
Turkey possesses a wide variety of trade promotion and advertising channels spanning print and digital. In Turkey, TV advertising, digital media, and online ads are very popular. Newspaper and magazine ads can also serve as effective trade promotion tools for U.S. exporters.
For companies seeking to advertise through newspapers, Hurriyet Daily News, Anadolu Agency, Daily Sabah, and Turkiye Newspaper are the country’s leading English-language daily publications.
Major Turkish-language newspapers include Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Sozcu, and the country’s primary newspaper specializing in commercial/economic issues, Dunya, which has an extensive advertising section. Major weekly or monthly business periodicals include Turkish Time, Para, Ekonomist, Capital, and Fortune Turkey.
Well-known business association publications as well as sector-specific periodicals and online publications include: Ambalaj Dunyasi (packaging), C4 Defence (defense), MetalSan (iron and steel), PetroTurk (energy), and Turkdokum (casting). These publications, too, serve as potential advertising channels.
The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) publishes local trade fairs and shows on its website annually. In addition, CS Turkey’s Business Service Provider directory is designed to help U.S. companies identify professional service providers to assist them in the assessment, completion, and/or financing of an export transaction.
Price has traditionally been the most important business consideration, especially in government tenders. Existing public procurement law instructs buyers to procure the product/service with the lowest price and best quality, and per a July 2017 government decree, products produced domestically receive a 15% price advantage. In general, the lowest price wins in public procurement tenders, however, life-cycle analysis or best value procurement is sometimes considered. In both public and private sales, creative financing, which reduces upfront cash outlays or extends the terms of payment, can be of great value to Turkish clients.
U.S. firms should consider the recent devaluation of the TL against the U.S. dollar when making price calculations for their products and services, especially when in competition with local suppliers.
While imports from EFTA countries and bilateral free trade agreement partner countries are exempt from duties, U.S. firms can nevertheless remain competitive by offering financing alternatives to low-cost, credit-hungry Turkish buyers. EXIM Bank, DFC, and USTDA have a variety of financial vehicles to assist U.S. exporters and investors.
Financing also includes GSM-102 export credit guarantees, which are available for most agricultural products. CS Turkey urges U.S. exporters to utilize letters of credit and other methods to secure transactions when establishing a new relationship with a Turkish importer.
Sales Service / Customer Support
In certain industries, such as machinery and automotive, after-sales serve and/or customer support offerings can be a competitive advantage for U.S. exporters. U.S. suppliers may want to identify local agents and/or distributors with the necessary service and maintenance capabilities or consider establishing an office in Turkey capable of providing after-sales services. In 2014, the Ministry of Customs and Trade issued a directive to regulate the delivery of after-sales services by requiring manufacturers or their importers of certain products to provide after-sales services for a specified amount of time in accordance with their product group. Note that the Ministry of Trade amended the subject directive in February 2020, resulting in a new list of affected products.
Local Professional Services
The Business Service Provider (BSP) Directory is designed to help U.S. companies identify professional service providers for assistance in the assessment, completion, and/or financing of an export transaction in Turkey.
The service providers are selected based on our knowledge of the types of support U.S. companies require when conducting business in Turkey. English-speaking attorneys specializing in commercial law, investment legislation, joint ventures, corporate law, tax law, bankruptcy law, public finance, banking corporations, criminal, and civil law are available for consultation with U.S. business representatives.
U.S. companies can also find large U.S. accounting and financial firms operating in Turkey to assist in establishing a presence in the Turkish market.
The BSP directory is not comprehensive and inclusion of a particular company does not constitute a U.S. Government or Commercial Service endorsement or recommendation. We assume no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the providers listed. We also reserve the right not to list a company.
If you need additional information or assistance in locating service providers in categories not listed, contact:
U.S. Consulate General, Istanbul, Turkey
Principal Business Associations
American Business Forum in Turkey – AmCham Turkey
AmCham Turkey is a business association comprised of U.S. companies with operations in Turkey. Founded in 2004 as an American Chamber of Commerce, AmCham acts as a bridge between Turkey and the U.S. to improve bilateral trade and investment, and to support Turkey’s economic development by strengthening its business environment and stimulating FDI.
AmCham Turkey represents 110+ prominent U.S. member firms with investments over $50 billion in Turkey. Working in partnership with U.S. businesses, foreign investors, and local decision-makers, AmCham endeavors to be a trusted, credible thought leader helping to accelerate improvement in Turkey’s business environment. AmCham Turkey has seven committees: Public & Government Affairs, Investment Environment, Sustainability, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Digital Economy, Food & Agriculture, and Diversity & Inclusion.
Foreign Economic Relations Board – DEIK
The Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) was established in 1985 to organize and manage the Turkish private sector’s foreign economic relations in the areas of foreign trade, international investments, services, contracting and logistics; analyze investment opportunities at home and abroad; and help boost the country’s exports.
There are 140 bilateral, six sector-specific and two special purpose business councils operating under DEIK.
Turkey-U.S. Business Council – TAIK
TAİK, operating under the umbrella of DEİK, was established in 1985 as the first business council in Turkey with the aim of enhancing trade and investment relations between Turkey and the United States. TAIK is the largest of the 148 business councils operating under DEIK.
TAIK’s mission is to enhance trade and economic relations between Turkey and the United States. TAİK works with U.S. and Turkish companies to bolster their strategic partnerships as well as to promote the strengths of both Turkey and the United States as destinations for bilateral investment.
Turkish Contractors Association - TMB
The Turkish Contractors Association (TCA) is an independent, non-profit professional organization based in Ankara. The association was founded in 1952 and represents Turkey’s leading construction companies. Its members’ businesses comprise nearly 70% of all domestic contracting work and 90% of all international contracting work done by Turkish construction companies. Since the early 1970’s, Turkish contractors have completed over 11,125 projects in 131 countries. Their business volume abroad has reached $453 billion.
In addition to offering contracting services within and outside Turkey, most TCA members are also active in fields ranging from the manufacturing of building materials to investments in energy, tourism, health, and transport.
The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey – TOBB
TOBB, established in Ankara in 1950, is the highest legal entity in Turkey representing the private sector. TOBB functions as the umbrella organization for 365 Chambers and Commodity Exchanges. All companies in Turkey are required to be a member of a Chamber of Commerce or a Chamber of Industry. All Chambers of Commerce and Industry must be members of TOBB. In 2004, TOBB established the TOBB Economics and Technology University, which participates in major social and commercial bodies as well as several private and government organizations in Turkey.
International Investors Association - YASED
YASED was established in 1980 as the non-governmental organization representing international companies operating in Turkey. YASED’s mission is to enhance the efficiency and profitability of international companies in Turkey and to encourage foreign investment through improvement of the business and investment environment. It represents companies responsible for approximately 85% of all FDI in Turkey. YASED advocates for a sustainable, predictable, and competitive business environment in Turkey. There are 18 working groups focused on different business topics.
Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association - TUSIAD
TUSIAD, established in 1971, is a voluntary business organization of CEOs and executives from major industrial and services companies in Turkey, including Fortune 500 companies. TUSIAD is based in Istanbul with representatives in Washington D.C., Silicon Valley CA, Brussels, Paris, Berlin, London, Gulf and Shanghai.
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
Turkey generally follows EU directives with respect to products entering or leaving the country. If a CE Mark is required for a specific product in the Turkish market and the U.S. manufacturer does not have this required certification, that product cannot be imported into Turkey.
The Ministry of Trade has the right to specify products that may not be imported into Turkey. Currently, certain controlled waste products regulated by the “Regulation for Product Safety and Inspection 2021/3,” certain chemicals regulated by the “Regulation for Product Safety and Inspection 2021/6,” and certain metal scrap regulated by the “Regulation for Product Safety and Inspection 2021/23” are either prohibited or may require “control documents” issued by the Ministry of Environment. In cases where these commodities are granted permission to be imported, the importer can only be an industrial entity intending to use these materials in its own manufacturing process. For products outside of the scope of the groups listed above, there are no sales limitations.
Lawyers, notaries, and customs brokers without Turkish citizenship cannot practice in Turkey. While the same rule applies to dentists, pharmacists, and midwives, foreign doctors and nurses can practice in Turkey if they speak Turkish at the required level, maintain an ability to practice their profession in their home country, and have their university and professional degrees approved by the MoH.
Used or refurbished equipment is regulated by a decree renewed annually. Only products falling under the HS Codes noted in this decree can be imported to Turkey with licenses issued by the relevant government agencies.
Generally, the importation of used or refurbished equipment is limited to items that will be used by industry to manufacture its own finished products.