Why to Invest in Istanbul?

“It’s Berlin and London for core. But it’s Istanbul for opportunity.” says pwc ‘Emerging Trends Europe’ report.

Istanbul bears the characteristic of being the capital city of three Great Empires and she is also one of the few cities which has been the center of the country’s economic life. Although the city did not become the political capital for the new Republic, established in 1923, it has always been one of the country’s economic centers and has never lost its status as the capital predestined for the country.


When we glance at the city’s economy and working-occupational-professional life, Istanbul generates about 23% of Turkey’s Gross National Product (GNP). Its annual contribution to the state budget is about 40%. On the other hand, the city’s share of government expenditures has remained roughly 7-8%.

The headquarters of all private banks, and 21% of the total number of bank branches in Turkey, are located in Istanbul.

Istanbul has a central importance in both domestic and international trade. The added value created in Istanbul, reaches 26.5 percent of provincial total added value, and trade is the second most important sector in Istanbul after industry. In Turkey, 27% of the general added value created in the commercial sector is created by Istanbul. Istanbul is, at the same time the most important export and import gate of Turkey. Exports from Istanbul make up 46% of Turkey’s total, imports into Istanbul make up 40% of Turkey’s total.

Istanbul has at hand a great chance thanks to its being the center of tourism and the location of a convention center. The number of foreign tourists visiting Istanbul has reached 8 million in 2011. One-fourth of the city’s hotels are owned by five star hotels, and almost one-fifth are owned by four star hotels.

Furthermore, 14 of the 153 museums located Turkey are found in Istanbul, and 34% of the two million four hundred thousand pieces on display are exhibited in Istanbul.

Istanbul is also the center of the country’s air transport industry. Along with Atatürk Airport, Sabiha Gökçen Airport is located in Pendik on the Anatolian side of the city.

New sectors in the city, such as finance, tourism, service, banking as well as head offices have been substituted for industry in recent years. On the other hand, despite the situation in industry, the heart beat of money markets continues to grow in Istanbul. Due to its geographical location, the first four hours of the business day overlap with Asian countries and the other four hours with European countries. Because of its unique location, Istanbul has become a natural financial center for the entire region.

Today, 35% of collected deposits and 33% of credit used in Turkey occurs in Istanbul. In addition, almost all insurance companies operating in the country are located in Istanbul. The Istanbul International Stock Exchange Free Zone, based in Istanbul, has experienced an exponential growth among the globally known Stock Markets in the world. Moreover, there is a gold market in Istanbul in which gold bars are traded freely. The city forges ahead in becoming a financial center, especially in the domains of  leasing, factoring companies,  private financial institution, etc.

Istanbul will continue to accelerate the pace of becoming a financial center associated with liberalized financial markets and active stock markets. With the decision of moving the Turkish Central Bank from Ankara to Istanbul, it is expected to turn the city of Istanbul into an important world financial center. The main objective is to turn Istanbul into a head office of the financial centre of the world.

Living in Istanbul

dolmabahce view

An increasing number of people from various parts of the world are moving to Turkey to start a new life, to work or even to find peace of mind for their retirements.

The country has developed dramatically in the last ten years and the pace of progress in certain fields is nothing short of astonishing. Most of Turkey’s new residents hail from countries like the UK, Germany, Russia, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Qatar. With its unique geographical location combined with a rich and diverse history, right in the cradle of many different civilizations, Turkey is a privileged place to live for expatriates and their families.

From flats in urban centers to villas in suburbs, there are a multitude of options to choose from when looking for housing in Turkey. Major metropolitan areas have the most modern and complete environment for an extravagant life in the city, where luxurious residence complexes offer all the daily amenities such as private security, kindergartens, sports complexes, social facilities, parking lots and shopping malls for their residents.

The introduction of the Mortgage Law in 2007 enabled even easier financing and took the Turkish realty sector to new levels.

Turkey’s significance on the world finance stage is on the rise. The financial capital of the country, Istanbul, with its rich and vibrant economy, is now slated to become a World Finance Center. The country’s banking industry demonstrated remarkable resilience to the effects of the global financial crisis without any government backing, and Turkish banks are now regarded as the soundest in Europe. With service quality matching and exceeding international standards, Turkish banks are widely acclaimed as being fast integrators of technology into their services. Many foreign banks either operate directly in the country or entered the market via mergers and share acquisitions, providing services in all aspects of banking to individuals and investors alike.

A wide range of insurance services and products are available for both individuals and corporations with very competitive premium rates.

10 Major Facts to Invest in Istanbul and Turkey


  • The second biggest reformer among OECD countries in terms of its restrictions on FDI since 1997 (OECD FDI Regulatory Restrictiveness Index 1997-2012)
  • Business-friendly environment with average of 6 days to set up a company, while the average in OECD members is more than 11 days (World Bank Doing Business Report 2014)
  • Highly competitive investment conditions
  • Strong industrial and service culture
  • Equal treatment for all investors
  • Around 41,397 companies with international capital in 2014 (Ministry of Economy)
  • International arbitration
  • Guarantee of transfers
  • Corporate Income Tax reduced from 33 % to 20 %
  • Tax benefits and incentives in Technology Development Zones, Industrial Zones and Free Zones, including total or partial exemption from Corporate Income Tax, a grant on employer’s social security share, as well as land allocation
  • R&D and Innovation Support Law
  • Incentives for strategic investments, large-scale investments and regional investments
  • Economy is booming; and reached USD 850 B (billion) in 2014
  • 17th largest economy in the world and 6th largest economy compared with the EU in 2014
  • Economic growth is stable; with an average annual GDP growth rate of 5 % between 2002 and 2015
  • Promising economy with a bright future as it is expected to become one of the fastest growing economies among the OECD members during 2014-2016 with an average annual real GDP growth rate of 3.6 % (OECD, February 2015)
  • Institutionalized economy fueled by USD 144 B of FDI in the last decade (CBRT)
  • Private sector is mature, developed and dynamic; with USD 160 Billion worth of exports
  • The total population is 78 million (2014, TurkStat)
  • No#1 youth population within the EU (Eurostat)
  • The avarage of population age is 30 (2014, TurkStat)
  • Dynamic, young, well-educated and multi-cultural

Based on 2014 datas from ICTA, TurkStat, ICCT there are;

  • 40 million broadband internet subscribers
  • 72 million mobile phone subscribers
  • 57 million credit card users
  • 170 million airline passengers
  • 36 million international tourist arrivals
  • Over 30 million young, well-educated and motivated professionals (2014, TurkStat)
  • Increasing labor productivity
  • Approximately 600,000 students graduate annually from over 183 universities
  • More than 700,000 high school graduates with around half from vocational and technical high schools
  • New and highly developed technological infrastructure in transportation, telecommunications and energy
  • Well-developed and low-cost sea transport facilities
  • Railway transport advantage to Central and Eastern Europe
  • Well-established transportation routes and direct delivery mechanism to most of the EU countries
  • A natural and historical bridge between East-West and North-South axes, therefore creating an efficient and cost effective outlet to major markets
  • Easy access to 1.5 Billion customers in Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa
  • Access to multiple markets worth USD 25 T (trillion) of GDP
  • An important energy terminal and corridor in Europe connecting the East and the West
  • Located at a close proximity of more than 70 % of the world’s proven primary energy reserves, while the largest energy consumer, which is Europe, is located right to the west of Turkey, thus making the country a linchpin in energy transit and an energy terminal in the region
  • Customs Union with the EU since 1996 and Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with 20 countries
  • More FTAs underway
  • Accession negotiations with the EU

Invest Istanbul