Office Locations:

News & Service:

Business encounters

Successful business relations with Turkey

Due to the cultural differences between the western European countries and Turkey, the establishment of new business relations with Turkish partners a critical phase. In order to ensure the success of important projects, it is recommended to makeuse of project-related coaching. You can, however, find some important basic rules online.

Preparations for the first meeting

Preparations for the first meeting

  • Calm and respectful conduct is the rule
  • Orderly, tasteful clothing and a well-groomed appearance are important standards in Turkey as well
  • Personal contact and the maintenance of contact is of utmost importance in Turkey. This should be taken into consideration with an appropriate scheduling in order to gain enough free time to build up trust.
  • The first meeting should be arranged according to the usual standards.
    As a precaution, the appointment should be confirmed by E-Mail or by Telefax before setting off.
  • It should be checked before the appointment whether an interpreter is needed. The quality of the selected interpreter is decisive for success
Time and punctuality

Time and punctuality

  • Germany is, according to the terminology system of Richard Lewis a strictly linear-active, Turkey a multi-active and polychronic temporal culture
  • In Germany, the punctuality of appointments, bus timetables etc. is the standard. The exact scheduling of business appointments is also standard. In Turkey, everybody is deemed to be the "lord of his time".
    This means that a meeting is only over when the goal has been reached
  • As a rule there is no timetable for buses or similar means of public transport. Rather, the bus comes at regular intervals and stops when flagged down on request.
  • Delays to schedules meetings are frequent, should not, however, be taken offence at.
  • Services are often polychronic, i.e. provided at the same time as other services. It is not unusual for your Turkish partner to hold several telephone conversations during your meeting.
Overcoming misunderstandings

Conduct and procedure of negotiations

  • The first meeting is used for getting to know one another on a personal level. Talks are much more characterised by emotion, trust, pride and honour than in Germany.
  • The Turkish business partner often underlines his concerns visually, i.e. with graphics and verbal explanations. Written texts are seldom called for.
  • Negotiations, especially about prices, can often be conducted “to extremes”, which implies more than little interest in the product.
  • Friendliness and patience mean prospects of success, pressure and deadlines will in almost all cases lead to a breakdown of the negotiations.
Exchanging business cards

Dealing with rituals

  • Obligatory exchange of business cards at the beginning of the meeting is an absolute “must”
  • Gifts are not common at the first meeting
  • The meeting almost always takes place in a restaurant or at least outside the business offices
Restaurant in Ortaköy/ Istanbul with a view of another continent

Business meals and private meetings (family)

  • Alcohol at lunch is not usual, but welcomed in the evenings
  • An evening meal can last several hours, whereby long breaks are taken between the courses
  • The waiter will meet you at the entrance and lead you to a table
  • The Turkish business partner is pleased to recommend a meal in the chosen restaurant.
  • The bill will with absolute certainty be paid by the Turkish host; the next invitation should, however, be paid for by the guest, who must insist upon this; discussions on this subject are the order of the day.
  • Tips are, under normal circumstances 5 to 10 % of the total bill.
Turkish oil wrestling match

Avoiding conflicts by selecting the right organisation

What is important for the successful conduct of negotiations is a correct assessment of the management and organisational structure of the Turkish business partner. Here especially, there are many regional differences and the problem presents itself of finding the right negotiating partner, i.e. one equipped with the power of decision:

  • Patriarchal management and organisational structure, i.e. the decisions will be made by the head of the family
  • Organisation through structure, i.e. clear allocation of duties and responsibilities
  • Spontaneous solutions to problems without hierarchy and rules – of advantage in cases of equal distribution of power
  • Leadership and organisation through the authority of the negotiating partner within his social field and its rules

Your contact in matters relating to inter-cultural competence