As the world’s 17th largest economy, Turkey continues to be recognized as a location with the potential for profitable business opportunities. The country is rich in heritage and culture, sharing characteristics of both Europe and Asia. Cartus’ latest Emerging Market Watch on Turkey outlines the challenges that international assignees may face when moving there. Here are just some of our “top tips” for organizations and assignees to ensure that relocations to Turkey are as smooth as possible.
• Assignees should act fast when searching for a property, as demand is high. This is particularly true in May, June, and July. Properties can be secured within hours of being placed on the market and viewings cancelled at very short notice.
• Organizations should be aware that housing compounds charge monthly maintenance fees (in addition to rental payments). An appropriate level of accommodation allowance will therefore need to be provided for moves into such properties.
• Due to the lack of availability, assignees with school-age children should apply for school places as far in advance as possible. To save time, detailed research on schools should be conducted before the school search trip.
• In Istanbul, nearly all high schools are located a distance outside the city center, which can be a concern to parents. Organizations should communicate this to assignees as early as possible so that expectations are set. Due to the distance school buses have to travel, an appropriate schools allowance should also be provided.
• Road congestion is a challenge in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. Assignees will need to take commute times into consideration when searching for a home and school. The workplace destination will also need to be considered during this process.
• To help the assignee and family get used to their surrounding area and road/traffic conditions, organizations may want to provide a car and driver for the early weeks of the assignment.
• There are a number of cultural issues that assignees need to be made aware of before they move to Turkey, including:
1) Personal space. People can stand much closer to one another in public areas like ATMs and public transportation, which may be a little disconcerting to international assignees who are used to Western practices.
2) Bargaining. It is a part of everyday life in Turkey, occurring at all levels from street vendors to senior business meetings.
3) Hospitality. Looking after guests is a very important part of Turkish culture. For example, when dining out, the host should pay for the entire meal, as there is no culture of bill sharing.
• We recommend that organizations provide assignees and their families with cross-cultural training. The type of program chosen should take into account the length of the assignment as well as the scope of relocation experience that the assignee and their family have.
For a detailed review on relocation to the country, read our Turkey Market Watch or watch our On the Ground video on Turkey. For other Emerging Market locations, view our Resource Page and our On the Ground video series.