Free Trade Zones of Turkey are defined as fenced-in areas in which special regulatory treatment exists for the operating users in order to promote exports of goods and services. Free zones offer a more convenient and flexible business climate in order to increase trade volume and export for some industrial and commercial activities as compared to the other parts of the country.

Free trade zones of turkey
Roles of Free Trade Zones of Turkey
  • Promoting export-oriented investment and production.
  • Accelerating foreign direct investment and technology access.
  • Directing enterprises towards export.
  • Developing international trade.
Activities

In general, all kind of activities can be performed in Turkish Free Zones such as:

  • Research and Development (R&D),
  • Manufacturing,
  • Software,
  • General trading,
  • Storing,
  • Packing,
  • Banking and insurance.

Investors are free to construct their own premises, while zones have also available office spaces or warehouses on a rental basis with attractive terms. All fields of activities open to Turkish companies is also open to the joint-venture of foreign companies.

FREE ZONES IN TURKEYDATE OF EST.
1MERSIN FREE ZONE1985
2ANTALYA FREE ZONE1985
3AEGEAN FREE ZONE1987
4ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT FREE ZONE1990
5TRABZON FREE ZONE1990
6ISTANBUL THRACE FREE ZONE1990
7ADANA YUMURTALIK FREE ZONE1992
8ISTANBUL INDUSTRY & TRADE FREE ZONE1992
9MARDIN FREE ZONE1994
10SAMSUN FREE ZONE1995
11EUROPE FREE ZONE1996
12RIZE FREE ZONE1997
13KAYSERI FREE ZONE1997
14IZMIR FREE ZONE1997
15GAZIANTEP FREE ZONE1998
16TUBITAK-MRC FREE ZONE1999
17DENIZLI FREE ZONE2000
18BURSA FREE ZONE2000
19KOCAELI FREE ZONE2000

Please click here for an interactive map with links to each Turkish FTZ’s website (you will need to select “FZs” on the “Key Locations/Sites & Facilities” menu on the right-hand side of the map).

Advantages & incentives offered by Free Trade Zones of Turkey

Monetary advantages

  • Exemption from corporate income tax: Manufacturing companies are 100% exempt from corporate tax over their profits (the regular corporate tax rate in Turkey is 20%),
  • Free transfer of profits: profits generated at free zone can be transferred to Turkey or to other countries without the need for any permission,
  • Income tax exemption over salaries: Manufacturing companies are 100% exempt from income tax over the salaries of their employees if they sell minimum 85% of their production abroad (the regular income tax rate over salaries in Turkey is between 15% to 35%).

Customs-related exemptions & benefits

  • Since free zones are legally outside the customs borders of Turkey, custom related taxes and regulations are not applicable to goods entering the zones (Value-Added Tax (VAT), customs duties, Resource Utilization Support Fund tax (RUSF, normally 6%),
  • Companies can decrease their costs by keeping their stocks in a tax-free environment and/or basing their re-exports, transit trade, packaging, labeling and other similar operations within free trade zones.

One-Stop Service

  • 2nd hand machinery can be imported freely in to FTZs with no age limitation,
  • Free circulation of goods within the EU Market,
  • Lower construction and infrastructure service costs (exempt from VAT),
  • 100% foreign investment is allowed, without any requirement for minimum capital,
  • Bookkeeping and accounting can be done in foreign currency,
  • Sales to domestic market is allowed,
  • Easy to get work permits for expatriate employees,
  • Stocks can be kept in FTZsduty-free for an unlimited period of time.

1. Opportunity to Benefit from Tax Advantages for Manufacturer Users

  • Until the end of the taxation year including the date Turkey becomes a full member of the European Union, the earnings of the manufacturer users, generated through the sales of the goods they produced in the free zones, are exempted from the income or corporate taxes.
  • The wages of the workers employed by the users that export at least 85 percent of the FOB value of the goods they produce in the free zones are exempted from income tax. The Council of Ministers can reduce this rate to 50 percent.
  • The transactions and arranged documents related to the activities carried out in the zones by the manufacturer users are exempt from stamp duties and fees.

The free zone users that obtained “operating license” other than “production” before 06/02/2004, the income or corporate tax exemption continues during the validity period of the Operating License.

The free zone users that obtained operating license other than production after 06/02/2004 do not enjoy income or corporate tax exemption.

2. The opportunity for Medium and Long Term Planning

The validity period of an operating license:

  • 15 years for tenant users.
  • 20 years for manufacturer tenant users.
  • 30 years for users who build their own working premises (investor users).
  • 45 years for manufacturer-investor users.

Building plots and buildings on Treasury owned land can be leased or granted easement until 49 years for the investor users.

3. Opportunity to Transfer Profits

The revenue and earnings from free zone activities can be freely transferred to Turkey or abroad without any permission.

4. Facilitation of Foreign Trade

Since the goods sold from Turkey to free zones are subject to the export regime, free zone users can buy goods and services from Turkey without paying value-added tax. On the other hand, trade between free zones and third countries is not subject to the foreign trade regime.

Moreover, upon request, goods of Turkish origin in value less than 5000 US $ or its equivalent in Turkish Lira can be exempted from export procedures.

5. Trade Facility Free from Customs Duty Procedure

The goods in free circulation can be sent to Turkey or to the EU countries from the free zones without any customs duty payment. Moreover, no customs duty is applied to the goods of third country origin at the entrance into the free zones and exit to the third country.

6. Easy Access to EU Countries

Since free zones are part of the Turkey-EU Customs Territory, the goods in free circulation can be sent to the EU Countries by an A.TR certificate. Customs duties for the goods of third country origin are also not paid at the entry into the free zones. However, the goods of third country origin that are not in free circulation can be sent to the EU countries by an A.TR certificate, only after the customs duties are paid over the rates determined in the Common Customs Tariff.

7. Equal Treatment

The incentives and advantages provided in the free zones are available to all firms regardless of their origin.

8. No Time Limitation

The goods can remain in the zones without any time limit.

9. Managing Trade Activities According to Market Demands and Conditions

In the Turkish Free Zones, unless the manufacturers demand, any authority regarding prices, quality, and standards granted to public institutions and agencies by-laws or by other legislation is not valid. Also, legislative provisions pertaining to customs and foreign exchange obligations are not applicable in the zones.

10. Inflation Accounting Opportunity

Every payment in the Turkish Free Zones is done with Convertible Currencies.

11. Access to Domestic and Foreign Markets

In contrast to most of the free zones in the world, sales to the domestic market with the exception of consumer and risky products are allowed.

12. Reduced Bureaucratic Procedures and Dynamic Management

During application and operation process bureaucracy is minimized. Professional private sector companies manage free zones.

13. Strategic Location

Turkish Free Zones are close to the EU and Middle East Markets, adjacent to the major Turkish Ports on the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea and have easy access to international airports and highways.

14. Competitive Infrastructure Standards

The infrastructure of the Turkish Free Zones is competitive with international standards.

15. Supply Chain Management

Turkish Free Zones, particularly for the companies which manufacture for export, offer supply chain management opportunities in providing intermediate and raw materials.

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