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Country Risk: Turkey

Flag of Turkey

Official Name: Republic of Turkey

Internet Domain: .tr
International Dialing Code: +90

Table of Contents

Location and Size Credit and Collections
Government Risk Assessment
Legal System Business Climate
Interesting Facts Business Protocol
Economy Other Sources of Info
Comparative Economic Indicators


Location and Size

Turkey is located in Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. It borders the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas, between Greece and Syria. Its total area is 783,562 sq km, which is slightly larger than Texas. Turkey is a secular state often viewed as a bridge between East and West.


Turkey’s Government is a republican parliamentary democracy with 81 provinces.

Executive: Chief of State: President  Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN, Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president; nominated by the prime minister

Legislative: Unicameral Grand National Assembly of Turkey (550 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)


  • Constitutional Court; High Court of Appeals; Council of State; Court of Accounts; Military High Court of Appeals; Military High Administrative Court

Legal System

Turkey has a civil law system derived from various European continental legal systems. It has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction.

Interesting Facts About Turkey

  • Turkey is one of the ten most visited countries in the world.
  • Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents.
  • The oldest known human settlement is in Catalhoyuk, Turkey (7500 BC).
  • Turks introduced coffee to Europe and gave the Dutch tulips.
  • St. Nicholas, who became popular as Father Christmas, was born in Demre on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast.
  • The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding with nearly 20 ingredients, is still served throughout Turkey.
  • The famous Grand Bazaar, a 540-year-old covered shopping mall of 64 streets, 4000 shops, 22 entrances and 25,000 workers, is located in Istanbul.

Map of Turkey




Turkey’s economy is increasingly driven by its industry and service sectors, although its traditional agriculture sector still accounts for about 25% of employment. Turkey remains dependent on often volatile, short-term investment to finance its large current account deficit. Turkey’s relatively high current account deficit, domestic political uncertainty, and turmoil within Turkey’s neighborhood leave the economy vulnerable to destabilizing shifts in investor confidence.

Leading Markets (2018): Germany 9.6%, France 6.1%, UK 5.8%, Italy 5.8%, Iraq 5%

Leading Exports – Commodities: Apparel, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment

Leading Suppliers (2018): Russia 14%, Germany 10%, China 9%, US 6.1%, Italy 5.4%, France 5%

Leading Imports – Commodities: machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, transport equipment

Top Industries: Textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining (coal, chromate, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper

Top Agricultural Products: Tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, hazelnuts, pulse, citrus; livestock

Comparative Economic Indicators – 2018

Turkey Bulgaria Romania Saudi Arabia India USA
78.8 7.1 21.9 26.1 1,189.2 313.2
Population growth rate* (%) 1.2 -0.8 -0.3 1.5 1.3 1.0
Age Structure (%)
(15 to 64 years old)
67.1 67.9 70.4 67.6 64.9 66.8
Age Structure (%)
(65+ years old)
6.3 18.2 14.8 3.0 5.5 13.1
Literacy (%) 87.4 98.2 97.3 78.8 61.0 99.0
Unemployment Rate (%) 12.4 9.2 8.2 10.8 10.8 9.7
Inflation (%) 8.7 4.4 6.0 5.7 11.7 1.4
Population below the poverty line 17.1 21.8 25.0 NA 25.0 12.0
GDP** (USD billions) 958.3 92.2 253.3 622.5 4,046.0 14,720.0
GDP real growth rate (%) 7.3 0.3 -1.9 3.8 8.3 2.7
GDP per capita** (USD) 12,300.0 12,800.0 11,500.0 24,200.0 3,400.0 47,400.0
Public debt (% of GDP) 48.1 16.2 34.8 16.7 55.9 58.9
Exports (USD billions) 117.4 19.3 51.9 235.3 201.0 1,270.0
Imports (USD billions) 166.3 22.8 59.8 99.2 327.0 1,903.0
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold (USD billions) 78.0 17.3 50.5 456.2 284.1 NA
Currency Lira
Exchange rates (per USD) 11/06/2018 1.5 1.3 2.8 3.7 45.0 NA
Exchange rates (per EUR) 11/06/2018 2.3 2.0 4.1 5.5 66.4 1.5

Economic Data from CIA World Factbook

Credit and Collections

Turkey’s legal system includes provisions for enforcing property and contractual rights. However, the court system is overloaded, which results in slow decisions. Under certain circumstances, judgments of foreign courts need to be accepted by local courts before they are enforced. Monetary judgments are usually made in the local currency, but there are provisions for incorporating exchange rate differentials in claims.

Risk Assessment

Coface Country Rating: A4 ” Average risk
Coface Business Climate Rating: A4 ” Average risk

Payments behavior is expected to remain satisfactory in 2019. Some sectors may, however, suffer from the exchange-rate volatility, including not only automobiles, construction, and related sectors (plastics, cement, electric equipment) but also retail, paper, chemicals, and textile/clothing.

Credendo Political Risk Rating: 4.5
Credendo Commercial Risk Rating: C

[Table of Contents]

Business Climate

The Turkish business environment has gradually become more streamlined and efficient. The country has a strong and rapidly growing private sector. Still, the state remains dominant in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication.

Further economic and judicial reforms and prospective EU membership are expected to boost Turkey’s attractiveness to foreign investors. However, Turkey’s relatively high current account deficit, uncertainty related to policy-making, and fiscal imbalances leave the economy vulnerable to destabilizing shifts in investor confidence.

Economic Freedom: Turkey’s economic freedom score is 64.6, making its economy the 68th freest in the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom. Turkey is ranked 33rd out of 44 countries in the European region, and its overall score is higher than the world average.

Conversion and Transfer Policies: Turkish law guarantees the free transfer of profits, fees, and royalties, and repatriation of capital.

Regulatory System: The government of Turkey has adopted policies and laws that should foster competition and transparency. However, foreign companies in several sectors claim that regulations are sometimes applied in a non-transparent manner.


Turks prefer to do business with those they know and respect, therefore foreign business people should spend time establishing a personal relationship. Discussions may start slowly, with many questions that may seem irrelevant to the purpose of your visit. It is extremely rude to insist that your colleagues get to the point. Once a relationship has been established, however, communication will be direct.

Business dress is conservative. You will be expected to wear a suit and tie. Similarly, women should wear smart professional outfits. In the summer, and especially in the cities of Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara, the weather is very hot and humid. At that time, it is acceptable for men to wear a shirt with trousers and no tie.

Although Turks do not practice time keeping and punctuality perfectly, they will expect you to do so.

When addressing a Turk, the most common method is to call a man by his first name followed by ‘bey’ (pronounced bay). So, Ertan Gonca would be Ertan Bey. Similarly, a woman’s first name would be followed by ‘hanim’ (pronounced ha-num). Where professional titles exist, such as Doctor or Professor, always use them either on their own or before the first name.

Sources for further information on doing business in Turkey

American Turkish Council

Turkish American Business Connection Association


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This information is provided by ABC-Amega Inc. Providing international receivable management and debt collection services for exporters to more than 150 countries including Turkey. For further information, contact [email protected].

This report represents a compilation of information from a wide variety of reputable sources.

Comparative Economic Indicators: CIA World Factbook