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Turkey – Self-Employment

Turkey is a vibrant and growing economy in the Middle East with many opportunities for self-employment and starting a new business. This article will provide a comprehensive breakdown of how self-employment works for expats in Turkey, how to register as self-employed, and how to start a company. It will also examine the digital nomad scene in Turkey and any incentives or programs in place to encourage expats to become self-employed or start a company.

Self-employment in Turkey

Self-employment in Turkey is a popular option for expats who want to work for themselves. To be self-employed, you must register with the Turkish tax authorities and obtain a tax number. Once you have a tax number, you can start invoicing clients and earning income.

One of the benefits of self-employment in Turkey is that you have more control over your work schedule and the type of work you do. However, you will also be responsible for paying your own taxes and social security contributions.

How to Register as Self-employed in Turkey

To register as self-employed in Turkey, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a tax number from the local tax office. You will need to provide your passport and proof of address to obtain a tax number.

  2. Register with the Social Security Institution (SGK). You can do this online or in person at a SGK office. You will need to provide your tax number and other personal information to register with SGK.

  3. Apply for a work permit if you are a non-Turkish citizen. You can apply for a work permit through the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

  4. Open a bank account for your business. You will need to provide your tax number and other personal information to open a business bank account.

  5. Start invoicing clients and earning income.

Can you work as a digital nomad in Turkey?

Yes, you can work as a digital nomad in Turkey. Turkey has a growing digital nomad community, and many cafes and co-working spaces offer reliable internet access.

However, it is important to note that as a digital nomad, you cannot work for a Turkish company or earn income in Turkey without a work permit. If you plan to work for a foreign company while in Turkey, you should consult with a lawyer to ensure that you are in compliance with Turkish law.


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Starting a Company in Turkey

Starting a company in Turkey can be a complex process, but it is generally straightforward. There are several types of companies that you can start in Turkey, including a limited liability company (LLC), joint stock company (JSC), and branch office.

The most common type of company for small businesses and startups is an LLC. To start an LLC, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Reserve a company name with the Turkish Trade Registry.

  2. Draft the company’s articles of association and have them notarized.

  3. Obtain a tax number for the company.

  4. Deposit the minimum capital required to start the company (currently 10,000 Turkish Lira) into a bank account.

  5. Register the company with the Turkish Trade Registry.

  6. Obtain a work permit if you are a non-Turkish citizen.

  7. Register with the SGK and start paying social security contributions.

Incentives and Programs for Expats in Turkey

The Turkish government offers several incentives and programs to encourage expats to become self-employed or start a company in Turkey. These include:

  1. The Turquoise Card program, which offers permanent residency to highly skilled professionals and entrepreneurs who want to live and work in Turkey.

  2. The Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey, which offers support and incentives to foreign investors who want to start a business in Turkey.

    To conclude, Turkey offers a favorable environment for self-employment and startups, particularly for those with innovative and technology-driven ideas. The process of registering as self-employed or starting a company may seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance and resources, it can be accomplished smoothly. As always, it is important to thoroughly research and understand the legal and financial requirements of operating a business in Turkey as an expat.

    Additionally, there are various incentives and programs in place to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in Turkey. These include tax exemptions, financial support, and access to resources and networks for business development. With a growing economy and a supportive business ecosystem, Turkey is an attractive destination for expats looking to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.


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