Interview Semiha Unal

‘The fast development of Turkey astonishes Dutch entrepreneurs’

S4U gives consultation to Dutch entrepreneurs and investors in the Turkish market with her brand ‘Business Support Turkey’. According to, S4U Business Management Consultancy and Foreign Trade Ltd. General Manager Semiha Unal, the entrepreneurs and investors from Holland willing to invest in Turkey are very much surprised to find a very well developed Turkey. Adding to this, Unal says that Turkey has a big business potential for Dutch investors and entrepreneurs.

The high-technology, life sciences, agriculture and food, water management, innovations, creative sectors and the energy sector in The Netherland are the subjects making The Netherlands a distinct country. Turkey has many opportunities in these sectors, according to Semiha Unal. Besides this, Unal continues, both countries being familiar with trade and having strong trade-bonds going on for centuries, between the two countries, provide the basics for successful cooperation in the future.

‘We can look at things in different perspectives, because of our multicultural background’

Unal states that, there are still Dutch investors and entrepreneurs not knowing of the fast development and the opportunities in Turkey and that there is need for a more effective way of informative activities. In 2012, I participated in the Holland-Turkey business forum which was organised during the visit of the president of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, in The Netherlands; I observed the big interest of Dutch companies in investing in Turkey. Being a member of the Dutch-Turkish Business Council of the Foreign Economic relations board (DEIK), I was invited to join the CEO Forum in The Hague, organised in 2013 during the official visit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to The Netherlands. The presentations held by the Turkish CEO’s about the investments they had made and their future business plans got the Dutch firms quite excited but still there are also Dutch firms, who do not have any information regarding opportunities in Turkey. Every time I speak someone from The Netherlands who is in Istanbul for the first time, their observations are always very positive. They seem very surprised and state that they did not expect such a developed country. Unal brings forward that the importance of the positive observations of Dutch companies willing to invest in Turkey, regarding young and qualified labour force, attractive incentives, favourable government policies, a big market, strategic location and positive outlook, is very high. However, Unal continues, the investors stay away when they do not have enough information about the legal system, the fluctuation in the local currency and knowledge of investments in Turkey. Dutch companies willing to find a partner, looking for a supplier or toundertake a business in Turkey have a few basic questions; is there a market for the product or service the company provides and if so, what is the right approach to reach this market. Unal suggests that a detailed research has to be done before a decision is made about undertaking a business in Turkey. This research can be a cost-benefit analysis as well as a realistic profit forecast and will contribute to a general visibility study and a business plan which has to be made by every entrepreneur planning to undertake a business. There are also entrepreneurs who already have done their research and made a decision to invest in Turkey. We help these entrepreneurs by guiding them regarding the entity to be set up, the location of their factory or their business and the forms and permissions they need.

Dutch companies who are looking for an inorganic growth by buying a local company or by combining several companies in Turkey come to S4U to be guided in the implementation of their strategic plans. Many companies find difficulties in doing business within a different culture. ‘Because of our knowledge of both the Dutch and the Turkish culture and our multicultural background we are able to see things in a different perspective’, states Unal.

Unal continues, ‘we offer support in Human Resource matters in accordance with the Turkish regulations to foreign investors. Besides this, we have several trainings especially for foreign managers. Our trainings in Management differences, Turkish Business Culture and Management Methods, make it possible for foreign managers to adapt easier and faster to the Turkish business culture, resulting in eliminating problems and contributing to a beter way to manage the team.’

Up to now we have given support in the following industries: production, chemical, medical, design, logistics, automotive, retail and water technology.

With this in mind, we provide excellent solutions to overcome the cultural problems doing business in Turkey. We offer a ‘Turkish Business Culture and Management Styles’ training for foreign managers (expats) and company owners doing business in and with Turkey.

‘In the past 10 years The Netherlands have made an investment of 16.7 billion dollars’

After saying that, in the last 10 years The Netherlands were the number 1 investor in Turkey with 16.7 billion dollars, Unal continues, stating that when we look at the number of international investment companies, after Germany, The Netherlands with 2 thousand 139 companies is the biggest. Along with Turkey’s stable economic growth there is a record of development in public finance.

The overall national debt stock of Turkey defined by the European Union between the years 2002-2012 is decreased from 74% to 36.1% in 10 years. According to the criteria of EU-Maastricht the maximum allowable national debt stock is 60%. Meaning, that Turkey measures up to this policy since 2004. Likewise, with a decrease of a budget deficit from 10% to below 3% between the years 2002-2012, Turkey has started to become a pioneer having a balanced budget, according to EU-Maastricht.

In 2012 the Gross Domestic Product of Turkey (GSYIH) has realised a growth of 300% in comparison to 2002, being 231 billion dollars in 2002 and 786 billon dollars in 2012. At the same time the national annual income per resident has increased from 3500 dollars to 10,504 dollars in the same period. The positive economical growth in Turkey also had a big influence on the export and the tourism revenues, with an increase from 36 billion dollars to 153 billion dollars for export and 8.5 billion dollars to 25 billion dollars for tourism between the years 2002-2012.

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