Radio 5 Live’s ‘On the Money’ recently brought to our attention Turkey’s attractive position as an emerging market and potential trade partner for the UK. Last week Nick Clegg lead a trade delegation to Turkey with the purpose of seeking new investment in Britain and increasing UK exports to this fast growing market that spans Europe and Asia. The Deputy Prime Minister was joined by Business Minister Michael Fallon and a business delegation of 18 CEOs and Senior Executives from companies including Arup, Mott McDonald, AECOM, Lloyd’s of London and Cella Energy. Together they discussed possible new business ventures with their Turkish counterparts which could be worth up to half a billion pounds.
With new business deals already agreed between a number of British companies and their Turkish counterparts, other UK businesses will also be eager to develop business partnerships with Turkey. Already Turkish company HDM Steel Pipe is opening a £7 million factory in Cardiff , creating 38 jobs Wolverhampton based Concept Steels signing a £5 million contract with a Turkish firm to export alloys, metals and components for the oil and gas and chemical industries.
What do we know about Turkey?
Turkey is now Europe’s seventh largest economy and is one of the world’s largest markets. Turkey bridges both Europe and Asia, making it an appealing country for UK businesses to invest in. However, even though Turkey’s modernisation is rapid it still holds traditional values and cultures at its heart. It has a combination of two unique cultures creating a diverse collection of ideas and beliefs. Therefore an understanding and awareness of its culture in business is an essential tool to Britain’s success.
Top tips: key concepts and values
- Family – The most essential social unit in Turkish culture is the family
- Multitasking – Turks tend to juggle multiple activities at the same time and continue several conversations simultaneously. Thus, in a Turkish business environment, it is not uncommon for phone calls to be taken during scheduled meetings
- Islam – Modern day Turkey is a secular state; however the philosophy and ideology of Islam still remains a prevalent feature of Turkish culture
Tips for doing business in Turkey:
- Schedule business appointments in advance to ensure that you avoid Turkish holiday’s e.g Ramadan
- Given the influence of Islam on Turkish society, daily routines, appointments and meetings must be fitted around each of the five daily prayer times
- Decisions are always made by the most senior business people. However, due to the strong sense of collectivism that underlines Turkish business culture, the decision maker will often consider the group involved in that decision
- At the start of any business meeting or social gathering, it is customary to greet your Turkish counterparts with a handshake; failure to do so may be considered rude
- Engaging in small talk before beginning business discussions is important for establishing rapport in Turkey. It is a good idea to get to know your Turkish counterpart on a personal level
The deputy prime ministers goal is ‘…to double bilateral trade by 2015…’ For the UK to achieve these far reaching goals an understanding of Turkey’s cultural makeup is essential. Cross cultural awareness training programmes such as doing business in Turkey or living and working in Turkey can provide executives and employees with the essential knowledge they need to know about the country and its culture. Showing an understanding of Turkish customs and traditions will enable British businesses to mitigate against any risks associated with cultural misunderstanding and build a more successful social and business relationship for the future.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2012