Investing

flag Türkiye Türkiye: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Türkiye | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information

 

FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2023, FDI inflows to Turkey increased by 8.8% year-on-year to USD 12.8 billion in 2022, whereas the total stock of FDI stood at USD 164.9 billion. Based on the balance of payments data from the Central Bank of the Republic of Türkiye (CBRT), the country received a total of USD 6.48 billion in equity capital inflows as FDI in 2022, slightly lower than the USD 7.1 billion recorded in 2021. Additionally, in 2022, Türkiye garnered USD 6.3 billion in foreign real estate investments and received USD 800 million in FDI through debt instruments. Data by the Turkish Investment Office show that the majority of foreign investments are directed towards the finance (31.6%), manufacturing (24.2%) and energy sectors (10.6%), followed by ICT services (8.8%), wholesale and retail trade (8.4%), and transport and storage (4.7%). In terms of stocks, the Netherlands has the lead, accounting for 15.7% of total foreign investment, ahead of the United States (8.1%), the UK (7.5%), and Gulf countries (7.1%, mostly from Qatar). According to EY, 321 FDI projects were recorded in Turkey in 2022 (+22% y-o-y), creating nearly 14,000 jobs; while the latest data from the OECD shows that in the first half of 2023, FDI inflows to the country totalled USD 4.8 billion, marking a 30% decrease compared to the same period one year earlier.

Turkey’s investment climate is positively influenced by its favourable demographics and strategic geographical position, providing access to multiple regional markets, and has one of the most liberal legal regimes for FDI among OECD members. The country has adopted a series of legislative reforms to facilitate the reception of foreign investment, such as the creation of the Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, a showcase of the efforts undertaken to attract foreign operators, and the publication of the government’s Foreign Direct Investment Strategy 2021-23. FDI inflows improved in the light of the development of public-private partnerships for major infrastructure projects, the measures to streamline administrative procedures and strengthen intellectual property protection, the end of FDI screening and the structural reforms carried out as part of the EU accession process. The factors hindering FDI development include the instability of the Turkish lira, as evidenced by the currency crises that regularly break out and bring its value to record lows, excessive bureaucracy, a slow judicial system, macroeconomic instability, frequent changes in the legal and regulatory environment, and the proximity of conflicts in the Middle East. Overall, Turkey has a favourable business climate, ranking 45th out of 82 countries in the Economist Business Environment and 47th in the 2023 Global Competitiveness Ranking. It is also at the 102nd spot out of 184 countries in the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 7,68611,84012,881
FDI Stock (million USD) 229,961139,970164,909
Number of Greenfield Investments* 210211265
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 4,7244,3494,173

Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

FDI STOCKS BY COUNTRY AND INDUSTRY

Main Investing Countries 2020, in %
Netherlands 17.7
Qatar 9.7
Germany 9.3
United Kingdom 8.6
Luxembourg 5.9
Main Invested Sectors 2020, in %
Manufacturing 33.2
Finance and insurance 30.5
Wholesale and retail trade 23.5
Energy 5.6
Information and communication 2.9

Source: Turkish Central Bank, Latest data available.

 
Form of Company Preferred By Foreign Investors
Public limited company, SA (Anonim Sirketi, AS)
SARL (Limited Sirketi, Ltd)
Form of Establishment Preferred By Foreign Investors
Out of the 3,702 foreign companies which had set up in Turkey:
- 2,991 are subsidiaries (set up);
- 651 acquisitions;
- 60 branch offices and representative offices in Turkey.
Main Foreign Companies
Main foreign companies include Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Fiat, Ford, Bosch and Nestlé as well as BNP Paribas, Microsoft and Motorola.
Sources of Statistics
Turkish Statistical Institute

Return to top

What to consider if you invest in Türkiye

Strong Points

Advantages for FDI in Turkey:

  • Turkey's repeated attempts to join the European Union have helped to establish European regulations and trade standards, which have substantially liberalised the economy. 
  • The Government is working to attract FDI into technology, textiles, services (health, education, public transport), telecommunications, shipbuilding, electronics and bio-technologies. 
  • Because of its demographic vitality, the country has a developing young middle class population with increased purchasing power and orientation towards consumption. 
  • The relatively low cost of labour
  • Turkey has a strategic geographical location that allows it to be a regional hub between Europe, Asia and the MENA economic zone.  
  • The Turkish market counts 85.3 million consumers
Weak Points

Some of the disadvantages for FDI in Turkey include:

  • A bureaucracy that may be cumbersome to navigate
  • Frequent changes in the legal and regulatory environment
  • Strong dependence on exports and hydrocarbon imports
  • Exchange rate uncertainty and the consequences of a public debt constantly rising
  • Elevated regional geopolitical risks
  • Currency plunge and high inflation
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The Turkish Government has played a large role in initiatives to make the country a more attractive destination for foreign investment and business operations. The Turkish government offers a comprehensive investment incentives program: general, regional, strategic and project-based investment incentives.

Turkey’s incentives program provides the following benefits to investors: corporate tax reduction; customs duty exemption; value added tax (VAT) exemption and VAT refund; employer’s share social security premium support; income tax withholding allowance; land allocation; and interest rate support for investment loans.

The incentives program gives priority to high-tech, high-value-added, globally competitive sectors and includes regional incentive programs to reduce regional economic disparities and increase competitiveness. Other primary objectives are to reduce the current account deficit and unemployment, increase the level of support instruments, promote clustering activities, and support investments to promote technology transfer.
Foreign firms are eligible for research and development (R&D) incentives if the R&D is conducted in Turkey.
Turkey is seeking to foster entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization (KOSGEB), the Government of Turkey provides various incentives for innovative ideas and cutting-edge technologies.
Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) has special programs for entrepreneurs in the technology sector, and the Turkish Technology Development Foundation (TTGV) has programs that provide capital loans for R&D projects and/or cover R&D-related expenses.

More detailed information can be found at the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Investment Office website.

Return to top

Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Türkiye
Turkey has signed several bilateral investment treaties (BITs). To see a list of participating countries, consult UNCTAD website.
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
The ISDS Navigator contains information about known international arbitration cases initiated by investors against States pursuant to international investment agreements. Turkey is involved in 36 cases as Home State of claimant and in 14 cases as Respondent State.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICSID , International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
ICCWBO , International Court of Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Turkey is a signatory to the Convention of the MIGA.
 
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Türkiye Eastern Europe & Central Asia United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 9.0 7.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 5.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 6.8 9.0 5.0

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

Return to top

Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
There are no general limits on foreign ownership or control.  However, there is increasing pressure in some sectors for foreign investors to partner with local companies and transfer technology, and some discriminatory barriers to foreign entrants, on the basis of “anti-competitive practices,” especially in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector or pharmaceuticals.
Acquisition of Holdings
Foreign investments are not restricted and a notification is made to the General Directorate of Foreign Investments after completion of the transaction.
Obligation to Declare
The Capital Markets Law is the primary legislation governing public companies. This law also applies to public M&As, together with the Turkish Commercial Code. Takeover and merger rules are regulated and supervised by the Capital Markets Board, which is authorised to conduct investigations, request information and apply sanctions for non-compliance.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Capital Markets Board
Requests For Specific Authorisations
If the target is active in a regulated sector (such as telecommunications, energy, banking and financial services), approval from that sector's regulator may be required.
In sectors considered to be strategic - such as petroleum, media (radio and TV) and tourism - acquisitions are limited to a certain amount (law n° 6326 of 1954).

Return to top

Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
There are several temporary solutions: domiciliation of the company at the private address of the director, domiciliation and/or lodging in a business center, lodging in relay-workshops, company "incubators" and renting professional premises.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Buying a property in Turkey falls under Law No. 2644 of 2012, also known as the Land Register Law which provides for the conditions for purchasing any type of real estate: residential property, commercial property, agricultural land, or any other type of field. Foreign investors seeking to purchase real estate in Turkey are subject to certain restrictions. In order to acquire the title of a property, an application has to be submitted to the local Land Registry Office in which the property is situated.
Risk of Expropriation
Under Turkish law, state and public legal entities can, where the public interest requires, terminate private ownership without the consent of the owner. Foreign investors are entitled to compensation if they are victims of expropriation. The legislation principally requires immediate compensation for the actual value of the expropriated investment.

Return to top

Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
Turkey’s regional incentives program provides the following benefits to investors: corporate tax reduction; customs duty exemption; value added tax (VAT) exemption and VAT refund; employer’s share social security premium support; income tax withholding allowance; land allocation; and interest rate support for investment loans.
Privileged Domains
The incentives program gives priority to high-tech, high-value-added, globally competitive sectors and includes regional incentive programs to reduce regional economic disparities and increase competitiveness.
Privileged Geographical Zones
There are a number of technology development zones (TDZs) in Turkey where entrepreneurs are given assistance in commercializing business ideas.  The Turkish Government provides support to TDZs, including infrastructure and facilities, exemption from income and corporate taxes for profits derived from software and R&D activities, exemption from all taxes for the wages of researchers, software, and R&D personnel employed within the TDZVAT, corporate tax exemptions for IT-specific sectors, and customs and duties exemptions.
In total, there are 71 technoparks in Turkey (Teknoloji Gelistirme Bölgeleri - TGB) managed by the General Directorate of Research and Development, itself attached to the Turkish Science, Industry and Technology Minister.
Free-trade zones
There are 21 free zones in Turkey, 7 of which are in the region of Marmara. The zones are open to a wide range of activities, including manufacturing, storage, packaging, trading, banking, and insurance.  Foreign products enter and leave the free zones without imposition of customs or duties if products are exported to third country markets.  Income generated in the zones is exempt from corporate and individual income taxation and from the value-added tax, but firms are required to make social security contributions for their employees.
Public aid and funding organisations
Turkey Ministry of Trade
General Directorate of Incentive Practices and Foreign Capital
Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency
 
 

Return to top

Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Industry
Turkey has a wealth of natural resources: boron, coal, iron, zinc, chromium, copper, silver. The exploitation of these resources is still under-developed and presents many opportunities. This could also lead to opportunities in heavy industry.  There are also a good number of opportunities in engineering works. The agri-food and textile sectors are looking for equipment. Other key sectors are the automotive industry (especially the market for automobile equipment) and health, which is in increased demand.

Services
Tourism is one of the country's key sectors. It is already well developed in Istanbul, on the Mediterranean coast, in the region of the capital and Cappadocia. In spite of this, the tourist sector still has large potential. Also, Turkey's geographical position offers good opportunities in logistics, transport and insurance.
High Potential Sectors
  • Chemistry - Plasturgy
  • Energy
  • Agri-food
  • Packaging
  • Building and Public Works/Finishings
  • Telecommunications
  • Ores
  • Industrial subcontracting
  • Automotive
Privatization Programmes
Consult the website of the Turkish Directorate of Privatisation Administration
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info , Tenders in Turkey
Globaltenders , Tenders & Projects from Turkey
DgMarket , Tenders Worldwide: Turkey

Return to top

Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
Media, transport, postal services.

Return to top

Finding Assistance For Further Information

Other Useful Resources
Istanbul Chamber of Commerce
Doing Business Guides
Doing business in Turkey (Thomson Reuters Practical Law)
Turkey Country Commercial Guide - The U.S. Department of Commerce
Exporting to Turkey - The UK Department for International Trade
Investment in Turkey - KPMG Guide
Doing Business in Turkey - UHY
 
 
 
 

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: April 2024