Turkey's rapid economic growth, strategic location, and large consumer market have caught the attention of many entrepreneurs and investors. As an expat, starting a business in Turkey can be a rewarding venture, offering exciting opportunities and a potential path to long-term residency. Navigating the world of entrepreneurship in a new country, however, comes with its unique set of challenges. Understanding the legal landscape, cultural norms, and market dynamics is essential for launching and sustaining a successful business in Turkey.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the pertinent aspects of becoming an entrepreneur in Turkey, from choosing the right business structure to understanding the legal requirements for setting up a company. We'll discuss crucial factors such as selecting a suitable location, hiring local talent, and navigating the intricacies of Turkish business culture. Additionally, our guide will help you explore various financing options available to fund your venture, ensuring you have the necessary capital to establish and grow your business.

Entrepreneurship in Turkey requires resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability. Our guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and insights needed to face challenges confidently, make well-informed decisions, and ultimately, flourish in Turkey's thriving business landscape. As you embark on this exciting journey, let our guide be your compass, steering you toward success in your new entrepreneurial endeavor.

Business Types and Structures

1. Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure, owned and managed by a single individual. This structure is suitable for small-scale business owners who prefer minimal regulatory requirements. However, it offers no personal liability protection.

2. Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a separate legal entity that shields its owners from personal liability. This structure is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and requires a minimum of one shareholder and one director.

3. Joint Stock Company

A joint stock company (JSC) is owned by shareholders and managed by a board of directors. It requires a minimum capital of 50,000 TRY and is suitable for large enterprises that may opt for public trading in the future.

4. Partnership

A partnership involves two or more individuals jointly running a business. Turkish law recognizes two types of partnerships: ordinary partnerships and limited partnerships. Choosing the appropriate structure depends on your business size, liability preferences, and management style.

1. Company Name Reservation

Start by reserving a unique company name at the local Trade Registry Office, ensuring it adheres to Turkish regulations.

2. Drafting Articles of Association

Prepare the Articles of Association, detailing the company's purpose, structure, and governance rules.

3. Notarization and Submission

Notarize the Articles of Association and submit them to the Trade Registry Office, along with the required fee.

4. Obtaining Local Permits

Depending on your business type and location, you may need local permits, such as occupancy, health, and safety permits. Consult with local authorities to ensure compliance.

5. Registering for Tax

Register your company with the local tax office, obtain a tax identification number, and fulfill other tax-related obligations.

6. Social Security Registration

Enroll your company and employees with the Social Security Institution (SGK) to comply with labor regulations.

Finding the Right Location

1. Transportation and Accessibility

Consider the ease of access to public transportation and parking availability while choosing a location. Ensure your target customers, suppliers, and employees can easily reach your business.

2. Local Amenities

Proximity to banks, restaurants, and other amenities can enhance your business's appeal to customers and staff.

3. Market Analysis

Survey the local market to determine the demand for your products or services and evaluate the competition before deciding on a location.

Hiring Employees

1. Work Permits

Foreign employees need a work permit to be legally employed in Turkey. Apply for work permits at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

2. Labor Laws

Familiarize yourself with Turkish labor laws to ensure compliance with minimum wage requirements, working hours, overtime pay, and leave policies.

3. Recruitment Channels

Utilize job boards, social media, and local recruitment agencies to find qualified candidates.

Cultural Considerations in Turkish Business

1. Building Relationships

Personal relationships and trust are vital in Turkish business culture. Invest time in getting to know your business partners, suppliers, and employees.

2. Communication Styles

Turks often engage in indirect communication, expressing opinions diplomatically to avoid confrontation. Be perceptive and patient when discussing business matters.

3. Business Etiquette

Turkish business etiquette values politeness, punctuality, and respect for hierarchy. Dress appropriately for meetings and use formal titles when addressing colleagues or partners.

Financing Your Business

1. Bank Loans

Turkish banks offer small business loans and lines of credit. Research interest rates and terms to find a financing option that meets your needs.

2. Angel Investors

Angel investors can provide funding in exchange for equity ownership or convertible debt. Network within the expat and local business communities to explore this option.

3. Government Programs

Turkey offers several government-sponsored funding programs for entrepreneurs, such as loans, grants, and tax incentives. Investigate which programs may be relevant to your business.


Starting a business in Turkey presents an exciting opportunity for growth and prosperity, provided you thoroughly understand the legal landscape, market dynamics, and cultural nuances. Utilize the knowledge and insights provided in this guide to help you navigate your entrepreneurial journey with confidence. As you establish your new venture, remain adaptable and resilient in the face of challenges, and be prepared to seize the opportunities that come your way.

For more practical guides, tips, and real-life experiences on living as an expat in Turkey, look no further than Ikamet. As a reputable residency advisor in Turkey, we can provide valuable guidance on navigating the legal and bureaucratic hurdles involved in relocating to Turkey, including obtaining residency permits and visas. Let us be your go-to resource as you embark on your Turkish entrepreneurial venture and embrace life as a business owner in this enchanting land. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!