Business Practices

An Expert's View about Business Practices in Turkey

Last updated: 28 Apr 2011

Business hours

In Turkey, government offices and banks are open Monday through Friday, and are closed on Saturday and Sunday. The opening hours for government offices are from 8:30 am till 5:30 pm, with an hour lunch break during 12:30-1:30 pm. But banks normally have shorter opening hours from 8:30 am till 5:00 pm, with a lunch break during 12:00-1:30 pm. As for other business offices, they also follow the five-day working practice. But most have slightly different business hours from 9 am till 6 pm.

During summer months, the government offices and many other establishments in the Aegean and Mediterranean Regions are closed in the afternoon. These fixed summer hours are determined by the governing bodies of the provinces.

On the other hand, some government offices and business establishments may have certain temporary arrangements to advance their working hours by 15 or 30 minutes in order to fully utilise the daylight and save energy.

Regarding retailing, in general there are no special restrictions on the business hours. Shops and bazaars are normally open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 am till 7:00 pm (some may have a lunch break), and closed on Sunday. But most stores in shopping malls and major shopping districts are open seven days a week, with a longer opening time that can run till the late evening.

Religion and holidays

While Turkey’s dominant religion is Muslim, it is a secular country with a long-standing tradition of tolerance and co-existence between peoples of all beliefs and creed. At the moment, about 99% of the Turkish population is Muslim. The remaining 1% consists mostly of Orthodox Christians, Gregorian Christians and Jews.

Notably, Hong Kong companies that intend to do business with Turkey need to observe the Turkish business calendar, as Turkish holidays do not exactly match those of the West. While the official holidays there include some national days, such as holidays for the celebration of Republic and Victory, there are also two important religious holidays, namely Seker Bayrami or Ramazan Bayrami (three days) and Kurban Bayrami (four days), which are observed by most Turks and business people in the country. The dates of these religious holidays occur 10-11 days earlier for each Western calendar year, because they follow the Muslim lunar calendar, which is different from the West. As most Turks have their religious rituals and celebrations during these festivals, Hong Kong companies are advised to observe such periods when doing business with Turkey.

Business meetings

Although Turkey is a Muslim country, Turks are largely used to conducting business in a Western style. As for business meetings, a handshake with exchange of business cards is common among businessmen during greetings.

Meanwhile, the dress code in the business community is similar to that in Western Europe. For example, men normally wear a suit with tie and white shirt. For ladies, however, it is noteworthy that a skirt with conservative length is recommended. Moreover, ladies should refrain from using strong perfume, lipsticks of bright colours and luxury jewellery.

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Posted: 27 April 2011, last updated 28 April 2011