Difficulties Foreigners May Face in Turkish Business Life
Turkey is gaining more and more interest from foreigners who want to work or establish a business in the country in the last few years. Of course, like in every country, there are some difficulties due to the cultural differences foreigners may face in Turkish business life as well. Although these difficulties are not unique to Turkey and there might be challenges to overcome Turkish business life still offer international standards for business people.
One of the main difficulties foreigners need to overcome in Turkish business life is the problem of communication. It is widely known that knowledge of English is very important for Turkish people both in education and business life in Turkey, yet many people are having difficulties with English and cannot speak English fluently. Of course, people speak English very fluently at international companies, but if you are working in a place where no one knows or speaks English that will be a big challenge for you. So the communication problem depends on where you work but if you want to work in Turkey and plan to reside in the country longer it is recommended to learn Turkish. Aside from your job, in your everyday life, in the street or in a restaurant or in a cafe you need to communicate with Turkish people and even only for this reason learning Turkish will be a great asset for you.
The Problem of Personal Space and Private Life
Turkish people are very friendly and sincere individuals. When they meet a new person, whether a foreign or not, if they like you they become fast friends with you and take you ‘under their wings.’ It means they would like to hang out with you at the workplace, during the breaks or even when you have free time outside of the work. They may ask you personal questions about your life such as your ideas about religion or politics and so on. For foreigners, especially people from Western societies who are not used to this kind of nosiness, they may find this odd and as one of the difficulties, they need to overcome. But do not worry, even if Turkish people have no boundaries and filters when it comes to your private life they mean no harm. In the end, when you have a problem, even it is something very mundane, they will be first to come to your rescue. Not to exaggerate but you can trust Turkish people even with your life.
Turkey is one of the countries with the longest working hours. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the average working time for EU countries is 40.3 hours per week, while in Turkey it is 49.4 hours per week on average. Therefore, the long working hours can create certain difficulties for foreigners who are used to shorter working hours back in their home. Especially if you are coming from a Europian country where working hours are restricted due to the EU regulations, you may have a hard time to adapt.
Turkey is home to many different cultures, especially if you work in an international company, and the possibility of working with a great variety of people is very high. At first, this change can be hard to adapt and you may think that this is one of the difficulties you need to encounter throughout your work life. But that is not the case, if you try to communicate and be more open with your colleagues despite your differences, then they will welcome you. Turkish people are pretty easy to satisfy, just be sincere and honest with them. Also, trying to learn more about your colleagues’ personalities will help you to understand them better. In the end, while your learn about Turkish culture maybe you can even teach your friends your culture as well.
Although they are some difficulties they may face in the business life, Turkey still offers many opportunities, low living costs, rich culture and very friendly workplace for foreigners.