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Country profile: Turkey at a glance


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The red represents the blood of Turkey’s soldiers. The star and crescent design appears on Ottoman flags beginning in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Location: Although its map reference is the Middle East, it’s mostly in Western Asia, where it’s bordered by eight countries, along with the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean seas

Population: 76 million

Capital: Ankara (4.75 million population)

Major urban areas: Istanbul (14 million people); Izmir (3 million)

Government: Republican parliamentary democracy

Ethnicity: Turkish

Language: Turkish

Religion: 99.8% Muslim

Median age: 30 years

Obesity: 29%

GDP: $1.576 trillion (2015 estimate)

Fiscal year: Calendar year

Natural hazards: Severe earthquakes and volcanoes

No. of cell phones: 72 million (92 per 100 inhabitants)

Internet country code: .tr

Internet users: 36.6 million (47% of population, according to 2014 figures)

Time difference: 7 hours ahead of EST

Ease of doing business: 55 out of 189 economies

Negotiation style: Patience is needed; negotiations start with small talk and many cups of tea

Business meals: In general, courses are ordered one at a time. It’s not uncommon for Turks to smoke between courses.

Franchise association: Turkey Franchise Association (UFRAD) www.ufrad.org

Chamber of Commerce: AmCham Turkey, www.amchamturkey.org

Women in business: Women are not expected to cover their heads here, and while represented in business, women still make up a minority of the full-time workforce

Age deferential: Elders are well respected and in family-owned businesses most likely will be the decision maker

Traffic: Chaotic vehicular traffic puts pedestrians and drivers at risk

Visa: 90-day visa can be purchased at the airport for around $20 cash

Dress code: Conservative/modest. Suits and ties for men, suits and heels for women (ties and jackets stay on even in the heat)

Coffee or tea? Tea is the national drink and is served in small cups; coffee is strong and tends to be an after-dinner drink. Since sugar is added during the brewing process, indicate when you order if you want little, moderate or lots of sugar.

Punctuality: Expected for business meetings, so traffic jams should be taken into consideration when estimating when to leave for meetings

Worst months to schedule meetings: June, July and August, when many business people take extended vacations

Sources: CIA World Book of Facts, World Bank, U.S. Embassy, Internet searches, “Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands,” business culture guide; World Bank, Wikipedia