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Company Formation Turkey



Open a Free Zone Company in Istanbul

Updated on Wednesday 21st December 2022

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Open-a-Free-Zone-Company-in-Istanbul.jpg.jpgTurkey encourages foreign direct investments through a series of special free zones. These areas benefit from special regulatory principles for taxation and they also offer the benefit of a strategic location for investors. The zones are located outside the customs area although they are within the borders of Turkey. The free zones focus mostly on export businesses and investments.
Those interested in opening free zone company in Istanbul can find out more about the incentives, advantages and privileges within these areas from our company formation agents in Turkey. We can also assist foreign and local entrepreneurs with the registration of businesses in any free zone in Istanbul, as well as in other Turkish free zones.

Free zones in Istanbul

Istanbul has several free zones, some of them older than others. The special economic zones in which investors can open free zone companies in Istanbul are:
  • - the Istanbul Ataturk Free Zone which is the oldest free zone in this city and was created in 1990;
  • - the Istanbul Leather Industry Free Zone which was created in 1995 and is dedicated to companies in various sectors;
  • - the Istanbul Stock Exchange Free Zone which was created in 1997 and serves the purposes of financial institutions;
  • - the Istanbul Tracia (Thrace) Free Zone, which is the last free zone enabled by the authorities in 1998.
The Istanbul Ataturk Airport Free Zone is one of the 19 operational free zones in the country. Its location in the province of Istanbul makes it attractive because of the proximity to the city of Istanbul, an important economic and business hub.
The area is designed to provide facilities for investors and offer numerous office spaces, private and general warehouses of various sizes. The area is ideal both for small start-ups as well as larger companies in Turkey that want to benefit from the tax advantages in this special free zone.
In order to be able to open a free zone company in Istanbul, the investor must choose from the following business activities:
  • - manufacturing and production,
  • - purchase and selling,
  • - warehousing,
  • - assembling and disassembling,
  • - repair and maintenance,
  • - banking and insurance etc.
Another free zone is the Istanbul Leather Industry Free Zone which is one of the largest special economic zones in Turkey. Created in 1995, this free zone allows for the opening of free zone companies in the following industries:
  • - IT;
  • - pharmaceutical;
  • - cosmetics;
  • - automotive;
  • - construction;
  • - machinery and equipment;
  • - furniture for residential and office spaces;
  • - textiles and garments.
When it comes to the leather sector, free zone companies can operate in the production of leather and leather products, chemicals and dyes production. Those interested in stock exchange listings can set up free zone companies in Istanbul in the special economic area with the same name. Companies here can operate in the commodities trading sector, however, they must also obtain the special licenses for completing the activities of free zone company.
Another important special economic zone in Istanbul is the Thrace Free Zone which provides for various activities which can be completed by setting up a free zone company here. One can open a company in Turkey in Istanbul Thrace Free Zone in the following sectors:
  • - electrical and electronics;
  • - machinery and equipment production;
  • - textiles and fashion;
  • - gold metal processing;
  • - furniture production;
  • - food processing and exporting;
  • - engineering;
  • - financial services;
  • - trading;
  • - production of various light industry goods.
Istanbul Thrace Free Zone is one of the most complete special zones in Turkey. If you need help in company registration in Turkey, our local advisors can guide you. Our company formation agents in Turkey can provide a complete list of the types of activities approved by the Council of Ministers. Investors can open a company in the Istanbul free zone or a branch of a foreign company abroad. Some might be interested in Istanbul Atatürk airport free zone.
Our accountants in Turkey are at your disposal with a series of services to be able to align with the requirements in this field. Thus, you can request payroll services, bookkeeping, preparation and submission of annual financial statements, audits, support for tax registration, and human resources management. Foreign entrepreneurs can also benefit from investment consultancy and personalized services in this regard. Contact us to discover our services.

Opening a company in Istanbul Atatürk airport free zone

Istanbul Atatürk airport free zone is another area of major interest for foreign entrepreneurs looking for an optimal and advantageous climate for their business. Those interested can activate in sectors like banking and insurance, warehousing, purchasing-selling, manufacturing and production, for example. Istanbul Atatürk airport free zone offers a number of advantages, and here we mention the lack of VAT, corporate tax, income tax and the possibility to operate a business in any currency. Moreover, entrepreneurs can enjoy 100% ownership in Istanbul Atatürk airport free zone, plus zero taxes for the transfer of profits in the country of origin.

Requirements to open a free zone company in Istanbul

The requirements for setting free zone companies in Turkey, including in Istanbul imply having at least one shareholder and one director for the company. Then, an office or industrial space in the Istanbul free zone is required. For renting such a space, the company will need a rental operating license.
Our local consultants can advise on all the requirements related to setting up a free zone company in Istanbul.

Turkish company formation procedure in an Istanbul free zone

The registration of a free zone company in Istanbul is nearly the same as incorporating a business in any other Turkish city. We say nearly the same because of the licensing procedure which is different. Opening a free zone company in Istanbul implies:
  • selecting a business form – the limited liability is often the preferred choice of investors;
  • setting up a corporate bank account and signing a lease or rental agreement for an office space in the Istanbul free zone;
  • registering the chosen business form based on the Articles of Association with the Trade Register in Istanbul;
  • registering for taxation purposes, but also with the Customs Authorities in Turkey;
  • applying for the free zone operating license with the authority governing the Istanbul free zone to operate in.
With a vast experience in company formation matters, our Turkish agents can help foreign investors setting up free zone companies in Istanbul to obtain the necessary licenses for their business. Istanbul free zones have many advantages, among which the ones mentioned above. The corporate tax exemptions when opening a free zone company in Istanbul are granted for unlimited periods of times, while the operating licenses can have a validity of 10 to 30 years.

The advantages of investing in a free zone in Turkey

The free zones in Turkey offer important advantages to investors who set up companies there. The incentives and advantages include:
  • - 100% VAT exemption;
  • - 100% exemption for customs duties;
  • - 100% exemption from corporate tax and income tax;
  • - 100% foreign company ownership;
  • - easy transfer of profits;
  • - no time limits for stocking goods;
  • - companies are treated equally.
Istanbul free zone companies have access to international markets, but also to the Turkish market which is one of the largest in the Eurasia region. Also, the workforce in Istanbul free zones is cheaper compared to other areas in Turkey. The access to Turkish ports is easier when creating a free zone company. Free zone companies also benefit from tax free utilities, such as electricity and water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our agents have prepared a set of questions and answers to help you get an idea of how to set up a free zone company in Istanbul, Turkey. We remind you that our team of specialists can offer the necessary support to register this type of company, managing the required formalities.
1. Why should you open a free zone company in Istanbul?
The advantages offered in free zones in Istanbul are numerous. Foreign investors can benefit from a great taxation system, generous incentives and fairly simple set-up formalities.
2. Can I set up a free zone startup in Istanbul?
Of course, a startup can be easily registered and can benefit from a number of advantages, including easy formalities, the ability of activating in various fields and attract foreign investment.
3. What kind of activities can I develop in free zones in Istanbul?
You can easily open a company in Istanbul free zone in sectors like warehousing, banking and insurance, import and export, manufacturing, repair and maintenance. Everything related to the formalities of setting up such a company can be discussed with our team of company formation agents in Turkey.
4. Can I open an IT company in Istanbul free zone?
Yes, foreign investors who want to activate in the IT field and benefit from a beneficial taxation system can turn their attention to the Istanbul free zone. Our local agents can offer you assistance and specialized support in terms of registration formalities.
5. What are the conditions to open a free zone company in Turkey?
A rental operating license attesting that you have rented an industrial workspace is one of the conditions for registering a free zone company in Istanbul. It is important to emphasize that the company must have at least one director and one shareholder.
6. Is VAT required for free zone company in Istanbul?
No, free zone companies in Istanbul are not subject to VAT. Therefore, local and foreign entrepreneurs with companies in this special area of business can enjoy the elimination of VAT.
7. Is there a corporate and income tax in Istanbul free zone?
No. Entrepreneurs enjoy a flexible taxation system where no corporate and income tax is imposed in the Istanbul free zone. More details about taxation of free zone company in Istanbul can be provided by our specialists.
8. Can I access international markets with the help of free zone company in Istanbul?
Yes, entrepreneurs who want to set up a free zone company in Istanbul can easily access international financial markets without restrictions.
9. How to transfer the profits of a free zone company in Istanbul?
The transfer of profits of a free zone company in Istanbul is not taxable. These important aspects can be discussed with our specialists in the field.
10. Why turn to a specialist to set up a free zone company in Istanbul?
Foreign and local investors can benefit from the support of our agents with experience in the field. They can handle all the formalities of setting up a company and can collaborate with the relevant authorities.

Why invest in Turkey?

Turkey continues to attract the attention of international investors in search of an optimal business climate, advantageous costs, generous incentives and access to large financial markets. Below you will find some statistical data that underline the economic direction of Turkey:
  • According to estimates, a total GDP of about USD 795 billion in 2021 is expected in Turkey.
  • Turkey's agricultural sector accounts for about 6.4% of Turkey's GDP.
  • 70% of the world's hazelnut production is in Turkey, the country being considered the largest producer in this sector.
  • According to the Turkish Federation of Food and Drink Industry Associations, Turkey exported about USD 19 billion worth of agricultural products between January and November 2020.
For more information about the Istanbul free zone and details about the other free zones and special investment areas in Turkey, please do not hesitate to contact our company registration agents in Turkey. We can assist foreign investors who want to take advantage of full ownership to set up free zone companies in Istanbul or in any other free zone in Turkey.

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Call us now at +90 532 351 66 77  to set up an appointment with Cagatay Altunsoy, one of our specialists in company formation in Istanbul, Turkey. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to Turkey.

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