Turkey is a preferred country to invest in thanks to its population of 85 million and its young and qualified labour force. Moreover, the incentives provided to foreign investors, tax reductions, free land allocations, etc. make it attractive to invest in Turkey.
Let’s take a look at the investment opportunities waiting to be discovered in different sectors of Turkey.
Turkey’s booming economy offers significant investment opportunities in many different sectors, including transport, health and energy. Between 1986 and 2022, 262 Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contracts were signed for a total value of USD 184 billion. The fact that more than half of the signed projects have reached financial close in the last decade is a good indicator of Turkey’s growing experience in infrastructure.
Strong reasons for investing in infrastructure in Turkey include the fact that the Turkish economy has a strong annual GDP growth rate of 5.4% between 2002 and 2021, Turkey’s growing international trade volume and strategic location have encouraged the country to develop its infrastructure, Turkey has a favourable investment legislation that allows the use of models such as build-operate, build-operate-transfer and transfer of operating rights for public-private partnership investments, and the Turkish government offers various types of support and incentives to accelerate the project development process.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
Turkey has started to attach great importance to technology-based research and development in the last few years. Many universities in Turkey have technology centres and investors are provided with great facilities to invest in technology in these areas.
Turkey recognises the Information and Communication Technologies sector as a prioritised sector and takes various initiatives to encourage investments and projects in this field. The biggest indicator of this is the R&D Law, which was implemented in 2008 and revised and supported in 2016, defining R&D areas and introducing an incentive package. This package includes many incentives such as VAT exemption, corporate tax exemption and social security premium support.
Turkey’s ICT sector has become a significant part of the economy, with exports exceeding USD 1 billion to the EU, North Africa, Asia and North America, and the Middle East. More than 80 per cent of Turkey’s exports in the ICT sector, which includes hardware, software, equipment and services, are to the EU, which is the country’s largest export destination.
Turkey is a very attractive country for people who want to invest in areas such as software development, biotechnology and nanotechnology, and electronics. Although there are many local and foreign companies operating in this field in Turkey, it should be noted that there are still great opportunities and large gaps in this field.
One of the sectors where the world’s largest investments are realised is the automotive sector. In the automotive industry, production on a global scale is generally classified as commercial vehicles and automotive. The vast majority of the production is made up of light vehicles class consisting of vans and automobiles. Other vehicle classes (buses, minibuses, midibuses, lorries, trucks, tow trucks, etc.), whose production numbers are relatively lower than the automobile class, are referred to as commercial vehicles in statistics.
The foundations of the automotive industry in Turkey date back to the early 1960s. Going through an industrialisation period and rapid progress, this important sector has evolved into a full-fledged industry with large production capacity and design capability from assembly-oriented partnerships. In Turkey, original parts manufacturers have invested over USD 16 billion in their operations since 2003. These investments have significantly increased the production capacity of the companies, giving Turkey an important place in the global value chain of international OEMs. Today’s automotive industry, which meets and even exceeds international quality and safety standards, is in a highly competitive and effective position thanks to its value-added production approach.
In line with its commitment to transform the automotive sector, which is an important economic driving force in integrating its economy into the global value chain, and its vision of becoming an economic powerhouse, Turkey introduced the “born electric” vehicle developed with domestic resources, drawing strength from its long-standing experience in the automotive sector.
- Thanks to its competitive and qualified workforce, advantageous geographical location and dynamic domestic market, vehicle production in Turkey by 8 global OEMs has increased almost five-fold, from around 300,000 in 2002 to over 1.3 million in 2021. This increase indicates a compound annual growth rate of approximately 6% during the period in question.
- This significant growth in the automotive sector has enabled Turkey to become the 14th largest automotive manufacturer in the world and the 4th largest in Europe by the end of 2021.
- Turkey has become a centre of excellence, especially in commercial vehicle production. By the end of 2021, Turkey became the second largest commercial vehicle producer in Europe.
- Having established itself as a unique production centre, the Turkish automotive industry now aims to improve its R&D, design and branding capacities. As of 2022, 191 design and R&D centres of automotive suppliers/manufacturers were operating in Turkey.
- Fiat, Ford, Daimler, AVL and FEV stand out as prominent examples among global brands engaged in product development, design and engineering activities in Turkey. Ford Otosan’s R&D centre is one of Ford’s three largest R&D centres globally, while Fiat’s R&D centre in Bursa is the Italian company’s only centre serving the European market outside its home country. On the other hand, Daimler’s R&D centre in Istanbul plays a complementary role to the German company’s truck and bus production activities in Turkey. AVL Turkey has opened its second R&D centre in Turkey, developing driverless and hybrid vehicle technologies.
- Turkey also offers a supportive environment on the supply chain side. There are approximately 1,100 parts suppliers in Turkey that support production at OEMs. Parts enter directly into vehicle manufacturers’ production lines and the localisation rate at OEMs ranges between 50% and 70%.
- Turkey is home to a large number of global suppliers. There are more than 250 global suppliers using Turkey as a production base, 30 of which are among the top 50 global suppliers.
- Automotive manufacturers are increasingly choosing Turkey as a production base for exports. This is evidenced by the fact that around 74 per cent of Turkey’s vehicle production in 2021 will be destined for international markets. In the same period, more than 970,000 vehicles were exported from Turkey to international markets. At the same time, Turkey has been the largest exporter of vehicles to Europe for nearly 10 years.
DEFENCE & AEROSPACE
The Turkish defence and aerospace industry has undergone a comprehensive transformation in the last decade. With unprecedented achievements in recent years, Turkey is today one of the fastest growing countries in the aerospace and defence industry.
Turkey is one of the highest spenders on defence. In 2019, Turkey ranked 16th among the world’s largest defence budgets with a defence expenditure of over USD 20 billion. The business volume of the defence industry has more than tripled in the last decade, reaching USD 10.9 billion in 2019. In parallel with the development of the Turkish aerospace and defence sector in the last decade, international cooperation opportunities for Turkish companies and exports have also increased. The sector’s exports, which stood at USD 600 million in 2007, exceeded USD 3 billion in 2019. Thanks to its advanced and qualified production capacity, the total amount of orders received by the sector was USD 12.2 billion in 2018 and USD 10.67 billion in 2019. In addition, while defence projects with a budget of approximately USD 5.5 billion were being carried out in 2002, the current project volume has reached USD 55.8 billion, an increase of approximately 10 times. Considering the ongoing projects in the tender process, it is estimated that this amount will exceed USD 60 billion.
Over the years, Turkey has also become an ideal environment for the civil aviation business. The number of airline passengers increased from 34 million in 2004 to 208.9 million in 2019, including 108.4 million international passengers. The size of the airline fleet increased from 162 to 515 between 2003 and 2018, and reached 546 in 2019. While the total number of civil aircraft increased from 626 to 1,404 between 2004 and 2018, this figure increased to 1,501 by 2020. In the same period, civil aviation business volume increased from USD 2.2 billion to approximately USD 19.5 billion as of 2019. Turkey is determined to become a centre for civil aviation. The new airport in Istanbul is one of the largest airports in the world, with an annual passenger capacity of 200 million and flights to around 350 destinations.
According to SIPRI data, Turkey is currently ranked 14th in 2020 and 11th in 2021 among the countries selling the most defence industry products. In 2021, Turkey delivered $380 million worth of defence industry products.
As of the 8th month of the year, Turkey’s total exports in the defence and aerospace sector reached 2 billion 636 million dollars with an increase of 42.2% compared to the same period of the previous year, signalling record levels in 2022. The increase in exports reached an all-time record, reaching 3 billion 992 million dollars annually in August. Turkey is likely to realise exports of 4 billion dollars and above in 2022.
ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The energy and natural resources sector is a very important sector in terms of the smooth running of almost all economic activities. Turkey’s growing population and growing economy lead to an ever-increasing need for energy and natural resources. In order to meet the country’s growing needs, for the period 2019-2023, the existing capacity is expected to reach 110 GW by 2023, with increased private sector investments as stated in the 11th Development Plan.
Turkey also has significant coal reserves, totalling 17.3 billion tonnes, mostly lignite. It should be noted that the natural gas sector in Turkey is also continuously developing.
The fact that Turkey attaches great importance to the energy and natural resources sector can be seen from the extensive incentives offered to those who invest in energy and natural resources. In Turkey, incentives such as VAT exemption, tax reduction, customs exemption, SSI premium, interest support are provided to investors in hydroelectric energy, solar energy, natural gas, wind energy, geothermal and bioenergy energy fields.
Turkey’s chemical industry has achieved remarkable growth thanks to Turkey’s cost advantage, disruptions in global supply chains, geographical proximity to major consumption markets, innovation and changing regulations.
In the past 10 years, global sales of chemical products have more than doubled, largely driven by emerging economies, which account for around 80 per cent of chemical production capacity growth.
In Turkey, chemical product sales have followed a very similar course to the global trend. Turkey is the management, regional production and export base for leading brands in the chemical industry. Turkey is an attractive investment choice for companies operating in the chemicals sector, with competitive production costs and strong growth supported by a dynamic domestic market.
The large deficit between consumption, capacity in petrochemical products offers great opportunities to domestic and foreign investors. There are also attractive opportunities for investors in neighbouring countries to take advantage of Turkey’s advanced infrastructure and strategic location.
Turkey, with its developing economy, advanced infrastructure, large domestic market, qualified and competitive labour force, and investor-friendly legislation, enables manufacturers operating in the chemical industry to continue to operate profitably for many years in one of the world’s developing and promising countries.
In the first quarter of 2022, Turkey’s chemical sector exports totalled USD 7.5 billion, representing a 40% growth compared to the same period of the previous year.
LOGISTICS AND TRANSPORT
Logistics is one of the most important sectors in Turkey. When the Black Sea Region, Europe and Central Asia are taken into consideration along with Turkey’s own logistics potential, and when the historical Silk Road, which is on the way to revitalisation in line with the changing commercial dynamics between the West and the East, is added to the logistics market potential, the magnitude of this potential is clearly seen. Due to its geographical location, Turkey is at the centre of a global market with a trade volume of approximately 7 trillion dollars, which includes Europe, Africa, Central Asian countries and Russia.
In the coming period, population growth in South East Asia and Africa is expected to be faster than in other parts of the world, international trade is expected to increase and the centre of gravity of global trade is expected to shift towards Asia.
Increasing population, logistics and trade will accelerate the demand for transport services and this demand is expected to double in 2050 compared to today.
Turkey is determined to increase its infrastructure investments in the transport and logistics sectors in order to further improve and strengthen its current position in global trade. These investments are being implemented in line with current global trends in the sector, such as sustainability, urbanisation, environmental awareness, new generation transport and connectivity to major markets.
Some of Turkey’s medium and short-term targets in the logistics sector are as follows
- Increasing the number of logistics centres on a national scale and adopting effective business management in these centres
- To be among the top 10 countries in the Logistics Performance Index ranking
- Development and dissemination of dry port system
- Turkey becoming a logistics base in the middle corridor
- Supporting digital transformation
- Accelerating and increasing the efficiency of customs control processes
Along with these medium and short-term targets, Turkey continues to pursue its objectives of becoming a pioneer on a global scale and a leading country in its region by developing transport and logistics systems that are in line with the principles of high value-added production, economic growth, export-oriented approaches, as well as sustainability, integrity, trust allocation and efficiency.
Machinery manufacturing in Turkey continues to be one of the important sectors contributing to the growth of the economy. The sector plays an important role in the development of Turkey’s manufacturing industry, especially thanks to its capacity to produce intermediate products and provide inputs to important sectors such as chemicals, automotive, construction, textiles, energy, agriculture and mining. Turkey’s machinery manufacturing sector is characterised by intensive R&D activities and high value added.
Turkey’s favourable input costs and strong capabilities ensure its competitiveness in the machinery sector. Input costs include competitive labour costs, reliable energy resources and logistic advantages based on the country’s geostrategic location with reasonable prices. Amenities include a skilled labour force, innovation-oriented infrastructure, attractive investment incentives, strong supply base and local clusters.
Turkey’s machinery sector has advantages such as advanced engineering skills and quick adaptation to innovations, quality awareness, specialised, highly skilled, middle and senior level managers, young labour force, facility, developed sub-industry and high level of organisation of the sector.
Turkey aims to create a machinery industry with higher technology in the machinery sector. Turkey’s other goals are to integrate with foreign markets and to create collaborations with the partners it will acquire and to be among the top 5 machinery exporter countries in the world by realising 100 billion dollars of machinery exports within the total exports targeted at 500 billion dollars in 2023.
To increase the share of machinery, which is 9% in Turkey’s total exports, to 20% as in the countries that have a say in the machinery sector.
Some important data and figures of the Turkish machinery sector are as follows:
- Turkey’s machinery sector quadrupled its revenue to $ 21 billion in 2020 and doubled its workforce to 244,000.
- While global exports have doubled, Turkey’s exports have increased tenfold in the last 19 years, reaching $18.5 billion in 2020.
- The export/import ratio in the sector has increased from 30% to 60% as of 2003, showing that the market is becoming less dependent on imports with continuous growth.
- Machinery products, the country’s 4th largest export industry with a 10% share in Turkey’s total exports, are exported to over 200 countries. 60% of the exported machinery products are mostly sent to EU countries, including Germany, the UK, France and Italy, and the USA.
- Total imports of the machinery sector exceeded USD 28 billion in 2020, demonstrating strong demand from the domestic market.
- Turkey’s agricultural machinery market reached $1.1 billion in 2019.
- Turkey’s construction machinery market increased to $626 million in 2019.
- Turkey’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning sector stands out as a strong industrial hub with a total export value reaching $4.7 billion. The sector also functions as Europe’s production base for boilers, panel radiators and air handling units (AHU).
- Turkey’s lifting and handling equipment market reached $1.7 billion in 2019.