How to Start a Business in Turkey as an International Investor

Turkey has one of the best strategic advantages in the world due to its strategic geography as it is located between Europe and the Middle East. That’s why business in Turkey has been part of the conversation among the international community.

When you combine the fact that over the last decade Turkish economy has been steadily growing with its bastion industries such as construction, tourism, fresh produce, no wonder Turkey attracts direct foreign investment all around the world. If you are looking to be part of Turkish business life read this blog post carefully, so you have the best advice before starting your procedures.

Please do note that this blog post is not legal advice and property consultations have to be made with a lawyer who is an expert in helping foreign investors to start businesses in Turkey.

Reasons to set up a company in Turkey

Turkish Citizenship

Since 2018, the Turkish government started a Citizenship by Investment programme which now allows international investors to become Turkish citizens when they follow certain simple steps. Here is how you can apply for Turkish citizenship.

Buying a property that is worth $250,000.

-Invest $500,000 into a Turkish business or employ 50 people.

-Invest $500,000 in Turkish banks or buy government bonds.

Please be aware that you must keep the assets or investment you have made for at least three years to keep your Turkish citizenship. 

Low Operating Costs

The Turkish population is incredibly young with an average age is Turkey being 30. 1 million students from Turkish universities graduate every year and immediately start to look for graduate jobs in Turkey. This make the cost of employees very low compared to other counties in the EU or USA. As of 2021, the net monthly minimum wage is 2825 lira. 

Consumer-Oriented Economy

Young Turkish population are always looking to purchase new goods, as they are progressing in their lives, they need homes, cars, clothes and many more. Turks love following trends and have the inclination to be associated with their favourite brands. With the right marketing strategy, you could be the next trendsetting brand in Turkey.

Wide Range of Local Manufacturers

Turkish manufacturing sector is vast as it is becoming more and more of an industrialized country among the emerging markets. If you have a product in mind join the thousands of international companies who get their goods produced in Turkey. They will listen to you and build prototypes that fit your descriptions. 

How to set up a private limited company in Turkey?

Although there are many different types of company you may choose to open in Turkey, this blog will only go through the private limited company as it’s the most straight forwards and a popular choice by international investors who wish to start businesses in Turkey. Private limited companies can be established by one or more individuals who have who and the minimum capital investment required is at least 10,000. But please be aware that if you are looking to acquire Turkish citizenship your investment in the company has to be at least $500,000 or employment of 50 people for the three year period. 

Steps to start a private limited company in Republic of Turkey

The steps that are required to be completed are constantly subject to change so again we must stress the importance of getting professional legal advice before you start your business to avoid rejection as well as legal complications later on. The company establishment process if completed through the Central Registration System (MERSIS)

Step 1 Go on MERSIS website and start your registration process.

Step 2 Check whether your company name and the title are available for you to use.

Step 3 You must draw an article of association which has to be compatible with the MERSIS requirements in order to get a tracking number from the system.

STEP 4 You and the rest of the shareholders needs to take the tracking number and the articles of association to the public notary so the signature process can be witnessed. You will be required to have social security number in Turkey in order to compete this step.

STEP 5 Preparation of the founders needs to be drawn and signed.

STEP 6 Make share capital contribution payments.

STEP 7 Start your application to the Trade Registry Office with all the documents required.

STEP 8 Once your company has been approved by the Trade Registry Office you will then become a registered legal entity.

STEP 9 Prepare a signature circular involving the signatures of all the authorised personal working under your company. They must be approved by the public notary. Please note that you will need a work permit as a business owner to start Turkish companies.

Step 10 Prepare all the legal books and get them certified by the public notary. 

STEP 11 Prepare and print invoices.

Congratulations you have now opened a private limited company in Turkey as an international investor. 

Where can I get advice on starting a business in Turkey?

There are a few places that you might choose to get information regarding the process. But you must consult your lawyer and make sure he or she has experience in the Turkish laws regarding companies and must previously have experience regarding ex-pats starting businesses in Turkey. You can find plenty of law firms in Turkey who would do that for you. 

These are two other additional sources you might seek to get up to date information from.

  • Turkish Embassy in your country
  • British Chamber of Commerce Turkey

What sort of businesses do foreigners start in Turkey?

Although there are plenty of business opportunities for foreigners in Turkey, from our experience, businesses that have a connection to tourism or other services for foreigners are very popular. These are usually bars, restaurants, holiday booking companies, small shops and the list goes on. However, you must know there is a number of business areas that foreigners need permission from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

These are banks, private financial institutions, foreign currency exchange offices and any other type of business that would be subject to regulatory requirements of the Capital Markets Law in Turkey. You must check these requirements with your lawyer to avoid penalties as well as legal action against you and your company.  

Are there any Turkish laws regarding acquiring trading names in Turkey?

Well, the business environment changes throughout the world. But Turkish commercial code states that you are not able to get acquire any trading that has previously been acquired by someone else. Words such as Turkey, Turk, Cumhuriyet, Milli are not applicable to register unless it has been approved by the Turkish Council of Ministers. Foreign worded company names can be registered however they have to follow the rules and ethics under the government laws and policies. 

So, this has been an introductory guide for foreigners who are interested in starting a business in Turkey and acquiring Turkish citizenship in the process. As Kingsman Estates we always recommend the purchase of property that is worth at least $250,000 as the easiest way to become a Turkish citizen. If you are interested in property purchase in Turkey, please contact us by starting a live chat with us and our dedicated team at Kingsman Estates will be more than happy to help you with your needs. 

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