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Turkey is located between the continents of Europe and Asia on the Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 35 00 E. It neighbors Iran and Iraq to the east, Greece to the west Russia to the north and in the south is the Mediterranean Sea (Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, 2011). Turkey is it at an important geological location because it controls three different seas. The seas are Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the Aegean Sea. It controls the Turkish Straits i.e. Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, and Dardanelles. It links Mount Ararat which is the legendary landing place of the ark of Noah. This point is in the far eastern portion of the country. The countries long history emanated from the old Ottoman Empire which ruled the Middle East, Europe and some parts of Africa for three hundred years. It was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the Empire (Encyclopedia of the Nations, 2011). Its history has over the years made turkeys neighbors uncomfortable and as a result it has faced a lot of problems such as the Kurdish problem. Under Ataturk authoritarian leadership, Turkey adopted wide range legal, social and political reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy. The geographical positions, demography and cultural issues make it a hot spot for doing business.

Population Demographics

By July 2011, Turkey’s population was 78,785,548 (Encyclopedia of the Nations, 2011). This is an estimate by the US bureau of census. It is based on the population census and sample surveys based on recent past and assumptions about future population trends. Turkey’s population presents an overall measure and its impact on the world and the resources within its region.  

From the world economic outlook 2011, population increased is tabled bellow

Year

Population

Percentage Change

2000

66.184

1.60%

2001

67.294

1.68%

2002

68.39

1.63%

2003

69.478

1.59%

2004

70.551

1.54%

2005

67.224

-4.72%

2006

68.063

1.25%

2007

68.898

1.23%

2008

69.722

1.20%

2009

70.538

1.17%

2010

71.341

1.14%

(The World Bank, 2011)

According to the CIA World Factbook the age structure of Turkey consist of 26.6% young population of between 0 to 14 years (The World Bank, 2011). This group consists of 10,707,793males and 10,226,999 females. The population between 15 to 64 years is 67.1% and consists of 26,741,332 males and 26,162,757 females. Finally the populations above 65 years are 6.3% and consist of 2,259,422 males and 2,687,245 females Centre for Intercultural Learning, 2009). The population growth rate is therefore 1.235% per year. The age structure is said to be affecting the nation’s key socioeconomic issues. It has a young population with a high percentage under the age of 15 years. The age structure of Turkey enables us to predict its political issues i.e. unrest can occur any time because of the high population of young adults unable to find employment. CIA World Factbook reports that the median age groups in Turkey is 28.5 years for the total age groups with 28.1 years for male and 28.8 years for female (Encyclopedia of the Nations, 2011).

Turkey’s crude birth rate is 17.93 births/1,000 populations. This gives an annual average of births during a year per 1000 persons at a mid year. It is the average that was used to determine population growth rate and is determined by levels of fertility and age structure of the population. The death rate is 6.1 deaths/1,000 populations (IndexMundi, 2011). The death rate is an indicator of the mortality situation and accurately indicates an impact of population growth.

The languages spoken in Turkey are Kurdish, Turkish and other minority languages. Turkish is the official language and is spoken by about 70-75%. Kurdish is spoken by 18% and other minority languages are spoken by 7-12% (IndexMundi, 2011). Religions are Muslims, Christians and Jews. Muslims are the majority with 99.8% (mostly Sunni) while the rest are 0.2%. Unemployment rate is 12% as at 2010 and was 14.1% in 2009 while the underemployment amounts to 4% as at 2008. Unemployed youth are between the ages 15 and 24 totals to 25.28% with 25.4% males and 25.05 females. Unemployment rate through the years is summarized in the table below

Year

Unemployment rate

Percentage change

2000

6.497

-15.20%

2001

8.335

28.29%

2002

10.333

23.97%

2003

10.495

1.57%

2004

10.25

-2.33%

2005

10.592

3.34%

2006

10.212

-3.59%

2007

10.244

0.31%

2008

10.945

6.84%

2009

14.028

28.17%

2010

11.887

-15.26%

(IndexMundi, 2011)

Cultural issues

Turkey is ranked in the low to medium income group using the per capita income statistics. Turkish efforts to increase the per capita income have largely been unsuccessful as compared to other countries that were once at the same level. Income divide in the country has sharply been affected by the renewed accelerated efforts towards industrialization and economic development that started in the early 1980s (Centre for Intercultural Learning, 2009). A wealthy man in Turkey typically owns homes around the country some for rental while others are establishments at the coastal regions of the Mediterranean. Family ties are strong in Turkey and as a result families share capital and thus invest in real estate. They rent the houses until their children grow up and move in. children of such families therefore have advantage in starting up than children of the poor. They also receive good education Encyclopedia of the Nations, 2011.

Poor families who might be at a position of owning a home may build a farming shelter in the rural Turkey or may make a makeshift home in the outskirts of urban areas. Other poor families rent low level apartments and sometimes may move into parents’ houses. In most cases there is overcrowding of family members in cases where numerous people share one dwelling (The World Bank, 2011). Children of such people go to public school systems and may at times go to college but in rural area where schools are miles away, families might choose not to take their children to school. Just like in most countries around the world, life is generally hard in Turkey.

Social class structure in Turkey is similar to those of large cities where the population exceeds 100,000. The urban upper class is mainly made up of wealthy businesspeople, government officials, and professionals. The structure is primarily determined by political power and education. Urban upper class is smaller in number than urban middleclass and the less diverse (Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, 2011). In the country, education is the permit to joining urban middle class.

From the local perspective, Turks don’t have a strong sense of space. Space between two communicating people varies and regular eye contact not necessarily sustained. Despite this, eye contact is necessary and is used in judging whether a person can be trusted. Even though this is not necessary in turkey, the Turks would be suspicious of a person who is reluctant to make an eye contact. It is customary in Turkey to shake hands with both sexes when greeting. In some instances, women and men would give each other a kiss on each cheek. When in a conversation, men and women can frequently touch one another for emphasis (IndexMundi, 2011). The touching would vary if a woman in the conversation is highly religious. In cases where one meets a religious woman, cross-gender handshake should be avoided unless initiated by the woman.

Business Etiquette

In economic ranking Turkey is ranked 65 out of the 183 with ease of doing business. The table bellow shows Turkey’s global good economic practice compared to selected economies.

(The World Bank, 2011)

Doing business in Turkey is easy because it is a nation rich in resources. It has established democracy and it still undergoes liberal reforms and the possibility of joining the European Union makes Turkey a good target for future business activities. Business in Turkey is already considered a lucrative venture because of the already expanding export market that is based in the manufacturing industries (Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, 2011). To be a successful business person one needs to understand the people, etiquette, culture, and approach to business. Understanding cross cultural skills enables international business personnel to maximize prospects of success in the country. There are certain business approach including the etiquette that one should employ to clients, colleagues and customers.

When meeting clients or colleagues, it is necessary to shake hands firmly. Women in the business context would shake hands with men but this does not apply in the Eastern or rural Turkey. Men are called by their first followed by the word “bey” and women are called by their first name and followed by the word “hanim” (Centre for Intercultural Learning, 2009). Initial conversation with businessmen should involve relationship building and this should happen in restaurants since Turks enjoy food and the meal time is time for relaxation and conversation. Turks do business with the people they like, trust and feel comfortable with. They open up to people they feel they can have a long relationship with (The World Bank, 2011). Doing business with them involves negotiations and not necessarily on financial benefits thus doing business and entering into business negotiations in Turkey, one needs to know the target figure and work step by step in a meaningful concession.

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