Business etiquette

Turkey-flag-140Corporate and social responsibilities

Corporate social responsibility has become a vital and popular issue in Turkey. It has become apparent to businesses that developing sustainability of resources is as important as financial sustainability.

Business interest in corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility is growing in Turkey. According to a recent survey of leading Turkish automotive distribution companies’, there is a rising awareness of the importance of corporate social responsibility in Turkey.

The findings of the survey highlighted the need for the Turkish parliament to pass relevant legislation and introduce tax incentives in order to promote corporate social responsibility and provide programs for community involvement, especially in education.

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Turkish people are very traditional and formal when doing business. Therefore, scheduling appointments in advance is important. Furthermore, Turkish people value punctuality, and expect international professionals engaging in business with them to do the same. If for some reason you are going to be late, it is essential to call ahead as soon as possible with a reasonable explanation.

Gift giving

In business relationships, gift giving is not generally practiced. If you decide on giving a gift, it won’t be viewed as an insult, but avoid expensive gifts and choose something small, such as a souvenir from your home country.  For social occasions like birthdays, weddings, religious ceremonies, gift giving is normal.

It is customary to bring a gift when going to a Turk’s home for dinner. The most common gifts are pastries, or items for the home. Since Turkey is a Muslim country, it is often inappropriate to give alcohol as a gift, unless you are already aware that they do drink and enjoy alcoholic beverages.

Business dress code

Styles of business attire in Turkey, particularly in the larger cities, are pretty much the same as in other developed countries.  Men wear a conservative suit and tie, while women normally wear business suits with either a skirt or pants. During the summer, lighter clothes are acceptable; men can wear a shirt and trousers without a jacket and perhaps even a tie, depending on the formality of the business. Women can wear lighter clothes, without a jacket but making sure not to wear anything too tight or revealing.

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Bribery and corruption

Bribery and corruption are still prevalent in Turkey. The government has taken measures to fight corruption, however, there needs to be more enforcement of anti-fraud legislation.

Citizens also share the perception that corruption remains a problem in the country, with a score of 49 in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012, Turkey ranks in 54th position.

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