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Turkey - Selling and buying

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Reaching the consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer behavior: Consumers are aware of quality. Products which have the "CE" label, accompanied by directions for use or certificates of guarantee, are appreciated for their guarantee of quality. When deciding to buy, the Turkish consumer finds out about conditions of payment. Young people are aware of advertising and like products close to those which suit western tastes. However, concerning foodstuffs, traditional Turkish products are unanimously approved.
Consumer profile: Turkish consumers have been keen on new products coming from abroad, especially Asian products which are less expensive, and western products which have a luxurious, modern connotation. 81% of consumers plan their purchases ahead of time but 87.7% of consumers buy products they had not planned to acquire.
Main advertising agencies:

Distribution network

Evolution of the sector: Modern distribution has seen sustained growth since 1990, especially in hard discount. For all that, its level of development still remains limited if you compare with its market share in the European Union countries. On a foodstuff distribution market estimated at 72.3 billion USD, the share of modern structures is only 33%.
The still relatively low importance of mass marketing had not needed, until now, the setting up of specific legislation on the development of hypermarkets. The Turkish government submitted in 2005 to the Great National Assembly a bill still under discussion making it necessary to have an authorization to open a hypermarket. Another aspect of the law (which risks being challenged) will prohibit the opening of hypermarkets on Sundays and public holidays.
Types of outlet: The distribution sector is characterized by its high fragmentation and its low diversification. At the present time, a profound process of change is taking place, with the appearance, especially in Istanbul, of big distributors and large shopping malls, and the development of new structures integrated on a national scale.
In spite of these changes, the distribution system remains very complex, with many intermediaries. Retail sales of staple goods (food, personal hygiene, cleaning) remain concentrated essentially in about 170 000 small family structures. The surface areas of more than 100 m2 are only responsible for 20% of total sales.
The great importance of small retail establishments can be explained by the sheer size of the country and the difficult access to certain areas, a limited number of vehicles on the road, and the application of a system of credit-confidence with the local shopkeeper.

Market access procedures

Economic Cooperation: - Member of the BSEC (Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation - 1992)
- Member of the Euromed (Barcelona Process)
- Customs Union with the European Union (1996)
- Member of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC, 1997)

Multilateral and bilateral agreements with many countries. You can consult the list of the Free Trade Agreements signed by Turkey on the website of the Ministry of Economy.

Non tariff barriers: Since January 1990, all imports have been free with exceptions for motives of protection of law and order, health or national security. Import administrative formalities have been considerable simplified since January 1 1990. The Common Commercial Policy has established quotas on the importing of textile products from third countries (Multifiber Agreements).
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce must give its agreement for the importing of all electric and automobile products.
The importing of pharmaceutical products and some cosmetic products is subject to the register of the Ministry of Health . In addition, the importing of some foodstuffs must be accompanied by a certificate of analysis. All agricultural imports require health control certificates, which are issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Importers of alcohol must obtain a certificate of import compliance issued by the TAPDK.
Under a regulation published in the Turkish Official Gazette of December 31, 2007 (No. 26743-supplementary issue) importers are required to obtain a control certificate from the Ministry of Environment for materials considered detrimental to the environment (notably hard coal, lignite, petrocoke, petroleum, arsenic, mercury, lead sulfides and carbonates, fluorocarbons, other chemicals and scrap metals.)
The importing of precious metal and stones is carried out only by banks with the authorization of the Central Bank ( Merkez Bankasi , decree No. 93/4143, March 21,1993) and an only be done by members of the Istanbul Gold Exchange.
Cigarettes can only be imported by TEKEL and cigarette producers, which are permitted by the government under a special decree (such as Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, British Tobacco, etc.).
Medical X-ray films can only be imported into Turkey by the Red Crescent Association.
Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products): With the coming into force of the Customs Union with the EU, products coming from the EU move freely without any quantitative restrictions and the great majority of Customs duties on industrial products and processed agricultural products coming from the EU and EFTA have dropped from 10% to 0%.

The country is starting to set up the Integrated Tariff of the European Union (TARIC) in third countries and in order to do this, it is lowering its Customs duties from 10% to about 5% especially with the United States.
Customs classification: Harmonized system.
Import procedures: In general, Customs bond is made orally by the owner or the carrier and must be followed by a declaration accompanied by the supporting documents. Procedures and regulations vary a lot according to the origin and the tariff situation of the products, etc. For further information, click here

Organizing goods transport

Organizing goods transport to and from: The country has about 90 commercial ports, 11 of them very large. As it is not a country with a maritime tradition, infrastructures are not sufficient: only 4.5% of domestic freight transport is carried out by sea. Nevertheless, about 87% of Turkey's foreign trade is carried out by sea. Air freight only represents 0.3% of goods transport, and 1% of passengers at the domestic level. Air traffic has, however, been in constant progress for several years and in order to respond to this growth over the coming years, the Turkish authorities have started up a program to develop and modernize airport infrastructures, the SMART project (Systematic Modernization of ATM Resources in Turkey).The airports in Turkey are well connected to most major cities in Europe, Middle Eastern Asia and United States, with direct flights on a daily basis.

The road network in Turkey comprises 60,000 km of roads (more than 80% asphalted), including 1,530 km of motorways. According to estimates of the Turkish Ministry of Transport, 76% of goods transport is carried out by road. Over the last ten years, the government has launched vast investment programs in order to improve the road network.

Rail transport only represents 5.5% of domestic freight transport. The Turkish rail network has 10,508 km of track, including 8,607 km of main lines and 1,901 km of secondary lines. Only 2,065 km of the lines are electrified, i.e. 19.6% of the total. The main lines are Ankara-Istanbul, Istanbul-Kapikule (Greece) and Divrigi-Iskenderun.

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