Business Opportunities from Turkey
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Establishing a Business in Turkey
Turkey’s regulatory environment is extremely business-friendly. You can establish a business in Turkey irrespective of nationality or place of residence. The registration and establishment of a company in Turkey can be completed in one day.
The process is handled by one ministry which acts as the coordinator between all authorities.
The first step in establishing a business in Turkey is to fill out the business registration form at the local trade registry office located at the local chamber of commerce.
The process is as follows:
Submit the notarized articles of association.
Deposit 0.04% of the capital to the account of the Turkish Competition Authority at a state bank or the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
Complete the company establishment form and register with the trade registry office.
International companies may start their activities in Turkey in various forms depending on the investors’ development strategies.
The most common types of legal entities in Turkey are:
Limited liability company (Ltd. Sti.)
Joint-stock company (A.S.)
Turkey has two main financial markets: the capital market and the money market. As regards the capital market, all companies shall register and make an initial public offering to the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB), while the money market offers different kinds of credit opportunities. In the credit market, credit registries and institutions that collect and distribute credit information on borrowers can grant access to credit. By sharing credit information, they help lenders assess risk and allocate credit more efficiently. They also free entrepreneurs from having to rely on personal connections alone while trying to secure credit.
There are five types of banks in the Turkish money market: state-owned banks, private banks, foreign banks, development and investment banks, as well as participation banks. In general, following the local economic crisis in 2001 and the restructuring process, the banking sector posted a rapid growth performance during 2002-2008. The value of the total assets rose from USD 130 billion to USD 465 billion, while their ratio to GDP soared from 57 percent to 77 percent. Meanwhile, the number of branches and staff also marked a rapid rise. During this period, the financial structure of the sector got much stronger. The shareholders’ equity of the sector increased from USD 16 billion to USD 54 billion and its free equity from USD 3 billion to USD 40 billion. The capital adequacy ratio, which was 18 percent as of December 2008, continued to grow and reached 20.5 percent at the end of 2009.
Banks commonly grant loans to small businesses backed by the company’s inventory or accounts receivable. Normally, there are formulas that determine the amount of loan to be granted, depending on the inventory and accounts receivable. A great deal of small business financing is accomplished through bank loans based on the business owner’s personal collateral, such as house ownership. The Small Business Administration (SBA) grants loans to small businesses and even to start-up businesses. SBA loans are applied for and administered by local banks.
Another related business practice is called factoring. So-called factors actually purchase obligations and take the risk of payment. The other financing method is leasing which is a financial product introduced by the Law on Financial Leasing, No. 3226 dated 1985. Movable or immovable goods of any description, except for non-material rights, can be leased. Leasing in Turkey can be applied in the form of domestic lease, cross – border lease, sale and lease back and sales – aid lease.
Autonomous Bodies are established in order to regulate and monitor different types of markets in accordance with the requirements of a functioning market economy. The Bodies have both administrative and fiscal independency. Some of the important entities in Turkey are the Competition Authority, the Energy Market Regulation Authority, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority; Telecommunication Authority and the Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages Market Regulation Board.
Competition Authority (CA) is responsible for the full achievement of competition in the markets. Main responsibilities and powers of the Competition Authority are:
a. To carry out the examination, inquiry and investigation into activities and official transactions defined in Competition Code upon application or upon its own initiative; to take the necessary measures to expunge infringements of the Code; and to impose administrative regulations
b. To evaluate the requests for exemption and to grant an exemption certificate to the appropriate agreements which may distort competition
c. To constantly follow the markets to which exemption decisions and negative clearance certificates are related, and to re-evaluate the applications of those in case changes are established in these markets or in the positions of the parties
d. To evaluate mergers and acquisition activities and approve them according to determined criteria
Energy Market Regulatory Authority
Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) regulates and controls the energy market. The Authority ensures its independent duties in order to provide sufficient energy sources to consumers at high quality and at low cost, in a reliable and environmentally friendly manner. The main responsibilities of Energy Market Regulatory Authority are;
a) To regulate and monitor the Electricity, Natural Gas, Petroleum and Liquid Petroleum Gas markets,
b) To establish a financially viable, stable and transparent energy market within a competitive environment.
Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency
Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA) safeguards the rights and benefits of depositors; prevents all kinds of operations and transactions that may risk the orderly and safe operation of banks or that may harm the economy; facilitates the efficient working of the credit system. The main goals of the Agency are as follows:
a) To enhance the efficiency of the banking sector and its competitiveness
b) To maintain confidence in the banking sector
c) To minimize potential negative effects of banking sector on economy
d) To improve the stability of the banking sector
e) To protect the rights of depositors
Capital Markets Board of Turkey
Capital Markets Board of Turkey (CMB) is the regulatory and supervisory authority in charge of the securities markets in Turkey. Empowered by the Capital Markets Law (CML), which was enacted in 1981, the CMB has been making detailed regulations for organizing the markets and developing capital market instruments and institutions for the past nineteen years in Turkey. Based on the main objectives of fair and orderly functioning of the markets and protecting the rights of investors, the CMB has a wide range of responsibilities.
Depending on the development stages of the markets and the state of the country’s economy, the list of priorities changes from time to time. However the major objective remains the same: to take the necessary measures for fostering the development of capital markets, and hence to contribute to the efficient allocation of financial resources in the country while ensuring investor protection. Its mission is to make innovative regulations, and perform supervision with the aim of ensuring fairness, efficiency and transparency in Turkish capital markets, and improving their international competitiveness.
The CMB implements the duties vested by the Law with due diligence. The CMB is authorized in and responsible for the following areas:
a) Regulation and supervision of the securities markets and institutions,
b) Determination of the operational principles of the capital markets,
c) Protection of the rights and interests of the investors.
Telecommunications Authority undertakes the regulation, the authorization, the reconciliation and the supervision of activities within the telecommunication market. The main responsibilities of the Authority are:
a) To prepare the required plans in the telecommunications area and present them to the Ministry of Transportation,
b) To observe the developments in technology of the telecommunications area in cooperation with the universities and private establishments,
c) To observe, control, examine and evaluate the telecommunication implementations,
d) To give opinions on the concession contracts to be signed for telecommunication services and/or infrastructure,
e) To define the general criteria on price tariffs, contract provisions and technical issues to be implemented for the users of the telecommunication services and infrastructure, and other operators for their use of interconnections between the telecommunication networks,
f) To define and implement the performance standards considered as a basis for telecommunication items,
g) To take the required measures to protect the consumer rights.
Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages Market Regulation Board
Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages Market Regulation Board (TAMRB) establishes regulatory and supervisory systems in areas dealing with tobacco, tobacco products, alcohol and alcoholic drinks. The main responsibilities of the Board are as follows:
a) Regulation and supervision of tobacco production; granting of permission for the import of tobacco seeds; issuing of authorization to trade in tobacco; regulating, monitoring, and supervising tobacco producers on the basis of a written contract; and buying and selling of tobacco products by public auctions
b) Granting permissions for setting up tobacco processing plants, controlling their production, movements, handovers, and closures; monitoring of tobacco stocks and warehouses; and the granting of compatibility permissions to tobacco warehouses
c) Supervision of companies operating within the sector
d) The granting of production permits, sales permits as well as granting permission to establish factories aimed at producing tobacco products
e) Regulating the market in Ethyl Alcohol, Methanol, Distilled Alcoholic Drinks, and Fermented Alcoholic Drinks; preparing national regulation policies; and harmonizing with the EU regulations
Privatization Administration does not show the main characteristics of the above mentioned market regulating autonomous agencies. However, as an independent administrative body fully responsible for privatization in Turkey, it has a very high importance for the direct investors. The Privatization High Council and Privatization Administration are responsible for carrying out privatization transactions in Turkey. The main responsibilities of the Administration are
a) To decide which enterprises meet the criteria for inclusion in the privatization process,
b) To prepare enterprises for privatization in both fiscal and legal matters,
c) To determine a timeline for the completion of privatization procedures,
d) To prepare the privatization process of enterprises which have been deemed suitable,
e) To decide on the privatization methods required for selected enterprises,
f) To decide on scaling down methods for enterprises that are already in the process of privatization,
g) To conclude the activities of enterprises either temporarily or permanently, which are already in the process of privatization,
h) To make a decision about the possible liquidation of companies in the privatization process.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
In Turkey, public institutions and universities play an important role in R&D activities. The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey is the public agency in charge of promoting, developing, organizing, conducting and coordinating research and development in different fields of natural sciences. This research is in line with the national targets for economical development and technical progress. The Council also makes important contributions to the relations between universities and industries.
The institution provides certain incentives in order to increase the scientific and technological competitiveness of Turkey; develop methods to rapidly transform scientific research into technological innovations; and provide an active contribution from the private sector into research and development.
The Turkish Technology Development Foundation was set up to raise the industrial sector’s awareness of R&D and to support technological development projects in the Turkish Industry through the funds provided by the Under Secretariat of Treasury from the resources of the World Bank. This Foundation continues its activities as a successful example of Private and Public Sector cooperation. In this respect, the Foundation promotes the R&D activities of the industrial sector; contributes to the creation of the necessary infrastructure for technology to produce a commercial and marketable product, system or service; provides financial support; and undertakes studies aimed at improving the legislative and institutional framework for R&D.
Another institution, which conducts R&D research in Turkey, is the Small and Medium-sized Industry Development Organization (SMSIDO – KOSGEB). KOSGEB is focused on helping small and medium-sized industrial companies to adapt quickly to technological innovations; increasing their competitiveness and contributions to the economy; as well as improving their efficiency.
The foremost purpose of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK) is to pave the way for the development of Turkey’s economic, commercial, industrial and financial relations with foreign countries as well as international business communities. DEİK believes that increasing industrial cooperation, widening the foreign trade network and opening the Turkish service sector up to the global economy are essential in achieving this target.
DEİK has also undertaken the mission of the effective integration of Turkey’s economy into the global economy. Acting on this mission, DEİK makes every effort to find new fields of cooperation in foreign markets. At the same time, DEİK strives for the better utilization of existing business opportunities in various sectors. It also makes an active effort to promote Turkey and its economy abroad in order to accelerate the development of business relations and foreign direct investment across Turkey. Informing Turkish businessmen about the existing business opportunities abroad also constitutes one of DEİK’s major tasks.
In this respect, DEİK is committed to maintaining a close cooperation with its “counterpart institutions”. DEİK aims to provide a platform where the business community can meet to discuss bilateral and multilateral issues that can contribute to the enhancement of mutual understanding and business relations. DEİK acts as an intermediary between the public and private sectors due to its close working relations with all governmental bodies and private sector institutions in Turkey, as well as relevant public authorities and private sector organizations in foreign countries.
DEİK was formed in 1988 and gained its legal mandate as a private sector institution due to the enactment of the new regulation based on Law number 5174 / clause 58. According to the new regulation which came into force on June 23, 2008, DEİK was reorganized by the prominent private sector institutions of Turkey such as unions, foundations and associations.
Close collaboration with its “founding institutions” has enabled DEİK to expand its fields of service far beyond its members by embracing also the members of these institutions operating throughout Turkey. DEIK’s nation-wide activities have therefore made it the major coordinating institution of the Turkish private sector’s foreign economic relations.
DEİK mainly operates through Bilateral Business Councils. DEIK’s Bilateral Business Councils are established by a cooperation agreement signed with foreign counterparts with the purpose of promoting business relations. These Business Councils ensure an effective follow-up mechanism and a continuous flow of information to member companies on trade and industrial cooperation possibilities.
Business Councils consist of two sides, one is the Turkish side and the other one is a counterpart institution in the relevant country, which is usually a representative body of the country’s private sector. The Councils meet regularly each year. As of February 2011, there are 97 business councils operating under DEİK.
The Turkish side of Business Councils are formed by member companies who have already undertaken business relations or who plan to develop such relations with each relevant country. Turkish companies are free to take part in every group of Business Councils which are divided into 8 different regions under the Secretariat General of DEİK. In this respect, one Turkish company may join more than one group of Business Councils by appointing more than one representative. Thus, as of August 2010, DEİK has more than 1400 representatives from more than 700 member companies.
Each business council has its own General Assembly and each General Assembly elects its own Executive Committee. The Executive Committee of each business council elects its own Chairman for two years.
The World Turkish Business Council is a newly established Business Council which is composed of Turkish companies operating outside Turkey, business associations established by Turkish businessmen in foreign countries, senior executives of Turkish origin in leading multinational corporations and other international institutions. The Chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and DEİK is the Chairman of the World Turkish Business Council and it has its own board of executives and its own General Assembly which convenes annually.
Health Tourism Business Council, the other Special Purpose Business Council, has been founded “to carry on various operations for health sector which is growing value of Turkey to get it’s deserved place in the international community, to provide the qualified health services to be introduced to target country markets, to lock the public and the private sector around a common vision and misson by providing the medical tourism to take a meaningful place as economically under the tourism revenues of Turkey by providing the Turkey oriented health tourism improved. SAIK which arranges a conference every year at fall has a web site (www.healthinturkey.org) that has sponsorship from Acredited Hospitals Corporation (AHD).
In addition to organizing Business Council activities, DEİK also takes a proactive and direct role in the cooperation with both regional and international organizations. DEİK represents Turkey on the Black Sea Economic Cooperation–Business Council which brings together the business communities of the 12 member states.
The World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank (WB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Multilateral Investments Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Developing 8 (D-8) are some of the international institutions with which DEİK tries to develop its cooperation in order to build an even higher level of interest among the Turkish business community.
Since 1997, DEİK has been organizing annual “Energy Conferences” in Istanbul in close cooperation with Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) in order to introduce and emphasize Turkey’s geo-political importance in the “East–West” and “North–South” energy corridors. Another traditional and international DEİK event is the “London Finance and Investment Congress” which brings together the world’s top international financial institutions each year in London.
DEİK attaches great importance to the regions where the activities of Turkish businessmen are intensive or developing. The series of panels entitled “Where is Eurasia Heading To?”, “Summit of Southeastern Europe” (in cooperation with INEA) and “Economy Forum for Northern – Southern Europe” are examples of DEIK’s regional activities.
DEIK’s Turkish-American Business Council (TAİK) organizes an Investment Conference in New York every year where high-level Turkish and US government and private sector representatives analyze the current state of affairs in the Turkish economy and the corporate world as well as providing an outlook on the investment opportunities. The Business Council is also organizing its Joint Annual Conference with ATC (American Turkish Council) on Turkey-US Relations in Washington DC, for the past 28 years.
Another major regional business event organized by DEİK is the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum, realized in cooperation with Al Iktissad Wal Aamal Group under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Turkey. The Turkish-Arab Economic Forum brings together a select group of speakers and participants from Turkey, the Arab world, and other countries, including high-ranking government officials and policy makers, banking finance, trade and industry leaders.
DEİK maintains a business portal providing comprehensive information for foreign businessmen on the Turkish economy and DEİK’s activities. The “How To Do Business, Investors’ Guide Turkey” in cooperation with Deloitte and a series of Doing Business Guides, various sector reports, regular newsletters, thematic periodicals, and country economic bulletins are prepared by DEIK and distributed to member companies and other relevant institutions. Members are updated regarding business opportunities and domestic, regional and global economic developments on a daily basis.
In order more information for the global business community regarding new developments in the world of business, DEİK collaborates with exclusive research institutions like the Oxford Business Group (OBG) and the Journal of Foreign Affairs. Within this framework Turkey Real Estate Yearbook is published with Europe Real Estate Publishers B.V and distributed to real estate investors who want to invest in Turkish real estate market. The annual “The Report” series, produced in cooperation with the OBG has gained worldwide interest.