Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2012 (Revised July 2013)

Doing Business in Turkey

by Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Robin J. Ely, Daniela Beyersdorfer, Emilie Billaud and Cigdem Celik

Abstract

In a rather flat international business environment characterized by shrinking markets and economic turmoil, Turkey promoted itself as one of the safe havens for investments. Led by the strong domestic demand of a young population, the country had tripled its GDP between 2002 and 2011, and had kept growing by 8.6% in 2011. Thanks to its central location "between the East and the West" and its access to 1.5 billion customers in its region, as well as to its "healthy" state of public finances and reduced government debt, Turkey had by 2012 become the 13th most attractive investment country in the world. As a result, many foreign companies considered setting up shop in Turkey, weighing whether the opportunities would outweigh the difficulties that doing business in emerging markets sometimes brought with it, such as an unpredictable regulatory and tax environment or the presence of a large informal sector. London-based beverages firm Diageo had been facing that same debate in February 2011 when it had to decide whether or not to buy Turkey's leading spirits producer and distributor Mey Icki. The deal would establish Diageo as a leading industry player, but it also bore risks. The case describes Turkey's economy, history, political context, and its business culture, and discusses some of the key opportunities and challenges for foreign players in the Turkish market.

Keywords: emerging market finance; emergent countries; strategy; business history; Economic History; fieldwork; Emerging Markets; Business Ventures; Strategy; Turkey;

Citation:

Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, Robin J. Ely, Daniela Beyersdorfer, Emilie Billaud, and Cigdem Celik. "Doing Business in Turkey." Harvard Business School Case 713-433, September 2012. (Revised July 2013.)