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Turkish Free Zones

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Free Zones are defined as special sites within the country but deemed to be outside of the customs border and they are the regions where the valid regulations related to foreign trade and other financial and economic areas are not applicable, are partly applicable or new regulations are tested in. Free Zones are also the regions where more convenient business climate is offered in order to increase trade volume and export for some industrial and commercial activities as compared to the other parts of country.
With the objective of increasing export-oriented investment and production in Turkey, accelerating the entry of foreign capital and technology, procuring the inputs of the economy in an economic and orderly fashion and increasing the utilization of external finance and trade possibilities, Free Zones Law numbered 3218 was issued in 1985.
Since then,
- Mersin (1987)

- Antalya (1987)

- Aegean (1990)

- 'stanbul Atat'rk Airport (1990)

- Trabzon (1992)

- 'stanbul-Leather (1995)

- Eastern Anatolia (1995)

- Mardin (1995)

- ISE 'stanbul International Stock Exchange (1997)

- 'zmir Menemen-Leather (1998)

- Rize (1998)

- Samsun (1998)

- 'stanbul Thrace ('ATALCA)(1998)

- Kayseri (1998)

Free Zones became operational.

In general all kind of activities can be performed in Turkish Free Zones such as manufacturing, storing, packing, general trading, banking and insurance. Investors are free to construct their own premises, while zones have also available office spaces, workshops, or warehouses on rental basis with attractive terms. All field of activities open to Turkish private sector are also open to joint-venture of foreign companies.


Turkish Free Zones are tax free zones. Income generated through activities in the Zones are exempted from all kinds of taxes including income, corporate and value-added tax.
The validity period of an operation licence is maximum 10 years for tenant users, and 20 years for users who wish to make their own offices in the zone; If the operating licence is for production, these terms are 15 and 30 years for tenant users and investors, respectively. The requested operation licence period can be prolonged to 99 years according to the type of investment.
Free Zones earnings and revenues can be transferred to any country, including Turkey, freely without any prior permission and are not subject to any kind of taxes, duties and fees.
There is no limitation on the proportion of foreign capital participation in investment within the Free Zones.
In contrary to most Free Zones of the world, sales into the domestic market are allowed in Turkish Free Zones. (Sales to the domestic market is subject to a fee of 0.5 % of the transaction value.)
Currencies used in the zone are convertible foreign currencies accepted by the Central Bank of Turkey.
Infrastructure of the Turkish Free Zones is comparable with international standards.
Red tape and bureaucracy have been minimized during application and operation phases by authorizing only one agency in charge of these procedures.
The geographical location of Turkey provides significant advantages to the Turkish Free Zones.
Turkish Free Zones are adjacent to the major Turkish Ports on the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas. In addition, they were established within easy access from international airports and highways.
There is no procedural restrictions regarding price, standards or quality of goods in the Turkish Free Zones.
For a period of 10 years following the commencement of operations in the zones, the strikes and lockouts shall not be applicable. However, any disputes occurring within the context to collective bargaining during the period shall be resolved by the Supreme Arbitration Council.
In the Turkish Free Zones, Municipality Law, Passport Law, Foreign Investment Law, Foreign Investment and Encouragement Law, and all other articles of laws contrary to the provisions of the Free Zones Law, shall not be applicable.

In order to engage in operations in free zones, an Operating Licence have to be obtained from Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade Directorate General of Free Zones.

An application form for Operating Licence can be obtained from Directorate General of Free Zones, Zone Directorates or Zone Operator, Founder/Operator Companies and has to be completed and the documents mentioned below have to be attached to the copy of the said form.

1- Descriptive information about the Applicant and its Free Zone operation,

2- Authorization document and specimen signature of the signatory and power of attorney and specimen signature of the representative of the firm (if any),

3- Turkish Trade Registration Gazette that announces the establishment of the Applicant Firm showing its current capital composition (For foreign firms Trade Registration Document ratified by the related Turkish Consulate),

4- Last three years? balance sheets and income statements,

5- The original receipt of application fee deposited to the Central Bank of Turkey, and its copy,

6- Documents related to the foreign currency brought into Turkey in the last three years, (If any),

7- Branch Establishment Permit obtained from General Directorate of Banking and Foreign Exchange for Banks, Off-Shore Banks and Financial Leasing Institutions and from General Directorate of Insurance for Insurance Institutions.

The above mentioned documents have to be sent to Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade, Directorate General of Free Zones through Zone Operator or Founder/Operator Firms.

Trade Registration:

An Explanation:

In order to obtain an Operating Licence, Turkish Trade Registration Gazette that announces the establishment of the domestic firm or a certificate indicating the registration of the foreign firm is required in addition to other related documents. This requires a trade registration either in the Chamber of Commerce or/and Industry in order to operate in free zones.

Within this framework;

a) Real persons or legal entities residing in Turkey holding a trade registration may engage in free zone activities in their offices they have constructed or rented by obtaining an Operating Licence from Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade Directorate General of Free Zones.

b) Turkish residents who intend to establish a firm to operate in a free zone; must ...

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Keywords: turkey free zone company, turkey free zone law, turkey free zone port, turkish free trade zones, what zone is turkey in

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