How to Start a Business in Turkey

Pollion Team

Are you considering starting a business in another country? If so, why not start a business in Turkey? Turkey has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, making it an excellent country in which you can establish your company. Along with a thriving economy, Turkey also offers an outstanding workforce that includes plenty of young people. The business community is well-established and attracts worldwide investors. These are only a few of the many benefits the country has to offer for anyone wishing to start a business in Turkey. 

In this article, we’ll discuss whether foreigners can start a business in Turkey, the necessary steps to take, and more. 

Can You Start a Business in Turkey as a Foreigner?

We’re happy to let you know the answer to this question is yes! According to Law No. 4875 on Foreign Direct Investment, a foreigner has the right to start a company in Turkey. This law ensures non-citizens have a more equitable method to start a business and freedom of investment; and it also provides them incentives and gives them some guarantees. 

We highly recommend contacting an experienced lawyer to create a company in Turkey. However, here are the conditions you must meet to establish a business: 

  • You are required to submit all documents after determining the type of company, with many choosing a sole proprietorship. 
  • You will need to have a work permit and a residence permit that ensures you stay in Turkey for 5 years. 
  • It’s also necessary to deposit a certain percentage of capital to the competition institution. The company registration fee is based on 0.04% of the total capital of your new business. 

Work Permits for Foreigners Starting a Business in Turkey

Foreigners can start a business as full shareholders, as takeover partners, or they can acquire at least 40% in an existing company. A work permit is not required for non-resident foreign partners of a limited liability business, provided they are not corporate officers, and non-resident members.

A person can’t create an organization in Turkey without a work permit. You can apply for the permit within three months of receiving the necessary paperwork for the application. The work permit lasts for one year; however, before the year is over, you can request an extension. 

Here’s the information and documents needed to obtain a work permit in Turkey: 

  • Residence permits (for at least six months)
  • Notarized diploma
  • Passport
  • 1 photo
  • Workplace SSI number
  • Your phone number
  • Marital status
  • Residence address abroad
  • Domestic residence address

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business in Turkey?

On average, it costs about USD 3,000 to start a business in Turkey. Here’s how the fees break out: 

Fees & ExpensesCost in USD
Attorney fee for registration of the new company$1,250 
Opening a bank account$   450
Tax office registration $   250
Accounting fees per month$   250
Company address per month$     50
Official company registration (includes notary expenses for Articles of Association & all other documents)$   750
Total Business Registration Costs$3,000

These fees may vary depending on the attorney you hire to start a business in Turkey. 

What Businesses Are Profitable in Turkey?  

It’s crucial to choose a business that will be profitable for you in that country! Here’s a list of some of the most profitable businesses in Turkey today! 

Travel Agency

Many tourists visit Turkey to explore its rich history and heritage. There are many amazing places to visit! So, why not consider starting a travel agency in Turkey? 

A travel agency can be started with a low investment, and you’ll be able to help customers reach their destination safely, book hotels, recommend restaurants, help them buy train/flight tickets, and so much more. 

In addition, graphic designers, web developers, and those who are artistically inclined may want to consider creating a travel guide for tourists visiting Turkey. It’s possible to create a book, develop a website, or create vlogs for this purpose.  

Construction & Real Estate

The Turkish construction and real estate markets are booming right now. The housing market is focused on residential Turkish properties, often bought by foreigners for overseas holidays and investment. 

The construction industry has also attracted local and international investors. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is a popular destination and a favourite place for foreign investors. 

Automotive Business

The automotive industry is also expanding in Turkey. You’ll also find this industry sector competitive due to manufacturing in the country. Turkey is the world’s 9th largest automotive manufacturing and engineering base. Turkish car production is founded in Izmit, Bursa, Ankara, Izmir, and Aksaray. 

Information Technology (IT)

The country’s information and communication technologies sector is also a significant part of Turkey’s economy. It exports technology to the EU, MENA, Asia, and North America; its exports from this sector exceed USD 1 billion. The country has many experts in software, hardware, equipment, and services in the IT and communications sector. 

In addition, the Turkish government has taken various steps to stimulate investment in this sector. The R&D Law, passed in 2008 (and revised in 2016), explains the government’s support and incentive packages for R&D, including corporate tax benefits, VAT exemptions, and help with Social Security contributions. 

The cybersecurity industry is also growing in Turkey, with many companies investing in security efforts. The government offers protection for identity, certificates, mobile security, system security, data security, and application security. 


Turkey’s textile industry has a very long history going back to the Ottoman Empire. Today, the country’s textile industry is famous worldwide. Its textile exports (in 2020) were fourth in the world, accounting for 3.3% of total exports, and the trend is set to continue. 

Plus, Turkey is one of the largest producers of organic cotton in the world. 

These are a few top businesses you may want to consider starting in Turkey. There are undoubtedly many more you can consider. 

What is the Minimum Investment for a Business in Turkey? 

If you choose to start a limited liability company (the most popular choice for foreigners starting a business in Turkey), it will cost about 10,000TL (about USD 350 at the time of writing). This amount is deposited during the first phase of incorporation. 

What are the Benefits of Starting a Company in Turkey? 

There are many benefits if you’d like to start a company in Turkey! Here, we’ve created a list of a few of these benefits you will enjoy with your own business: 

Low Operating Costs

One of the main benefits you can enjoy is low operating costs. Consider the costs of starting a business in the UK or the US. In both countries, it can cost a small fortune to start a business. On the other hand, if you start a business in Turkey, you’ll be able to take advantage of low starting salaries and labour costs. In addition, the costs involved with suppliers are also pretty low, compared to other parts of the world. 

Strong Customer Spending

Starting a business aimed at young people can result in a successful Turkish business. Turkey’s youth, like other young people around the world, usually have money to spend. They enjoy following trends, buying their favourite brands, and more.  

For a youth-based business, it’s necessary to do in-depth market research and develop the right business strategy to ensure you stay up to date with the current trends. Only in this way can a business appeal to young people in Turkey or other countries. 

Local Manufacturers
You can also thrive by working with local manufacturers if you start a business in Turkey. The country has many local manufacturers who want to help and support investors. If you have an idea, you’re sure to find a local manufacturer who will help you. 

Local manufacturers are also open to taking minimum orders, which is a huge benefit for businesses in Turkey. 

Incentives from the Government

Another benefit, if you start a business in Turkey, is incentives from the Turkish government for local and foreign investors. These incentives are related to the costs of starting a business in Turkey. The government also offers reductions of investor expenses. When it comes to foreign investors (who have the Incentive Certificate), you can also take advantage of the following incentives: 

  • VAT and customs duty exemption 
  • Tax reduction 
  • Social Security premium support
  • Interest rate support
  • Land allocation 
  • VAT refund
  • Income tax withholding support

Turkish Citizenship

Foreign investors who want to start a business in Turkey can also obtain Turkish citizenship. This right is offered to foreign nationals who invest at least USD 500,000 hire at least 50 people, or purchase immovable property worth $250,000, or who keep a deposit of at least $500,000 in a bank operating in Turkey for a minimum of three years. 

Foreigners can also purchase government debt securities of at least $500,000, as long as they are kept for at least three years. 

Start a Business in Turkey: The Importance of Localizing Your Company

Localization is a process that includes translation and more. The translation from your native language into Turkish must take into account the customs and social nuances in your new country. Translations are not done word-for-word; instead, localizing your company’s marketing materials and other text ensures the materials are relevant and appropriate to the target audience (in this case, Turkish people). 

Localization ensures your content is culturally sensitive, engaging, and relevant. It includes translation of the source materials and ensures these are suitable for the specific country or region. 

With proper localization, your business can reach new markets in Turkey. This is essential to the establishment and expansion of your new company. In addition, your brand comes across in the right way without being offensive. 

Create a Localization Plan

There’s a lot that goes into the localization process, so it’s essential to create a localization plan. Businesses with the right localization strategy are  more likely to find success. 

The Imagery and Colors for the Target Market

Localization also includes choosing the right images and colors for your target market. Imagery is essential to your content, but is it appropriate for your target audience in Turkey? If not, your materials may come across in a way you don’t intend. 

Colors also mean different things to the people of other countries and regions. So, it’s essential to ensure that all colors are appropriate for the target audience. 

In-House or Hire a Localization Professional? 

Does your company have the knowledge and experience to localize its content for the Turkish market? If you’re not sure or you answered, “No!” It’s time to consider hiring a localization professional, such as Pollion. 

Pollion offers a highly professional localization service that will benefit your business. No matter if you have a small website or you have large volumes of material to localize, Pollion has the expertise and experience to handle the work. 

They work with software that manages the localization process in one place. Pollion also uses experienced, knowledgeable linguists who are native speakers in your language and the target language. What better way to streamline the localization process than by hiring a professional translation company such as Pollion? 

By hiring these experts, you can count on high-quality localization services that are not only grammatically correct, but also localized to the target audience’s language and cultural preferences and nuances. 

So, consider hiring a professional language company to ensure your localization process is in good hands! 

Concluding Thoughts

There’s never been a better time to start a business in Turkey! The country offers a wide range of industry sectors that are highly profitable and popular. So, why not start a business in Turkey today? You can take advantage of the many benefits of starting your company in this beautiful country. 

Remember, if you’re unable to take care of translation and localization in-house, it’s best to choose an experienced translation agency, such as Pollion. They will ensure your content reaches the right market in the proper manner, so you’ll be sure to find success!  

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