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6 March 2020 -

Letters from Turkey: February 2020 edition

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News and interesting facts about the Turkish economy

Letter Turkey February 2020 banner
© iStock

Germany has been Turkey’s largest export market for many years. More than €35 billion worth of goods are traded between the two countries every year, and German companies employ over 120,000 people in Turkey.

Every four months, Erol Tüfekҫi, director of the Bremeninvest office in Izmir, reports from the seaport on trends, opportunities and developments in Turkey. Our topics in February:

Billions for the Turkish automotive industry

Automobil TOGG

The automotive industry is a main pillar of Turkish exports. Cars, commercial vehicles and vehicle parts account for around 15 per cent of the overall export volume. Major manufacturers with plants in Turkey include Toyota, Ford, Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and large foreign suppliers are also based in the country.

So far, Turkey has not been producing its own cars, but that is about to change. At the end of last year, a newly-founded consortium, TOGG, launched the first two models from a range of five electric vehicles. It plans to build a new factory with an annual capacity of 175,000 vehicles in Bursa province near Istanbul by 2022, at a total cost of €3.4 billion. Around 4,000 employees are set to produce electric vehicles capable of competing with those from Western manufacturers. With perfect timing, in 2018 the Chinese company GSR Capital entered into a preliminary agreement with Turkey’s Zorlu-Holding to build a battery factory with a capacity of 25 gigawatt and an investment volume of €5.7 billion. It is scheduled to be completed in 2023, so it is entirely possible that the battery cells for the new TOGG vehicles will also be Turkish.

Germany Trade and Invest has complied a blog post on (German) how attractive Turkey is as an investment location at the moment, and other facts and figures relating to its current economic situation.

Delegations visit Germany and Turkey

Izmir boasts a mild climate and cosmopolitan flair
Izmir boasts a mild climate and cosmopolitan flair © Istock

Establishing a base in a foreign country involves more than just economic calculations. Anyone planning to enter a new market or open a new production site needs a feel for the country and its people. There are different ways of preparing for a new market and getting to know it – one option is to join a visit by a delegation to the country in question.

Such visits provide local contacts and help to establish business relationships. Izmir is one of the cities Bremen is twinned with, and the two have enjoyed a long-standing friendship with regular trips by delegations in both directions. Last autumn there were two visits. A delegation from the Manisa Chamber of Industry and Commerce met with Bremeninvest to learn about the options for and benefits of investment in Bremen, and to discuss the economic relationship between Turkey and Germany. In return, a delegation of Bremen citizens visited its twin city of Izmir. There they met with the German consul general, visited social projects and developed the partnership between the cities. More trips are planned for autumn this year – we will keep you up to date.

Yurudesign launches business in Europe – based in Bremen

Unternehmen aus der Türkei: Yuru Möbel
© WFB / Frank Pusch

The online furniture market in Germany has been growing strongly for years (German) and is predicted to increase from around €6.6 billion in 2018 to €9.3 billion in 2022. Companies like Yurudesign are keen to grab a big slice of that cake. Founded in Turkey in 2014, the furniture maker and online retailer set up a new branch in Bremen at the beginning of this year and plans to launch its German and European business from here. To get the ball rolling, one of the founders has moved from Izmir to Germany – and we accompanied him for a while as he settled into his new home.

Profile: Clas Bastian Vögeding

Clas Vögeding von Bremeninvest
© WFB / Raveling

Since October 2019, Turkey has a new contact at Bremeninvest: Clas Bastian Vögeding. The 37-year-old business graduate is making good use of his international experience as he works with the Bremeninvest office in Izmir to raise awareness of Bremen as a location among local businesses and to help companies relocate to the city. We talked to him about his plans in a brief interview (German) and heard all about his first trip to Izmir, a major conurbation with a population of four million.

Beyond business: Max Kruse – football star and talented singer

And then there is Max Kruse, for many years a professional player with football club Werder Bremen. In the summer of 2019 he transferred to Fenerbahçe Istanbul. There, the striker quickly won over the hearts of fans, not just with his playing. During a local derby between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray Istanbul he joined in the singing of the national anthem, to the delight of the Turkish fans. His singing talent even earned him an appearance on popular television show The Voice. The former Bremen resident is fond of his new city, the country and the people. Take note: A touch of local colour can work wonders when starting out in a new country.

Malte Weyhausen

Project Manager Turkey

+49 (0)421 9600-338


Erol Tüfekçi

Bremeninvest Turkey / Office Izmir

Director Bremeninvest Turkey

+90 232 422 12 45


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