Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Türkiye is regulated by several regulations, including international treaties; the FDI Law (4875); and the accompanying Regulation for the Implementation of the FDI Law (31276). 

The FDI Law entered into force on 17 July 2003 and introduced significant changes with the aim of making Türkiye a more attractive destination for foreign investors. One of the major improvements introduced by the FDI Law was the elimination of the approval process. Instead, the law established a more open and investor-friendly environment based on the principles of fair treatment and the unrestricted ability to take profit out of the country. Under the FDI Law, foreign investors need only: 

  • inform the Ministry of Treasury and Finance of their investment activities in Türkiye, whether they involve greenfield investments, share transfers or any other form of investment; and 
  • specify the amount of foreign capital being invested. 

The only exception to this rule concerns the establishment of liaison offices, which requires prior approval from the Ministry of Industry and Technology. The FDI Law also ensures that companies with foreign shareholdings are treated equally to those with domestic shareholdings. Foreign investors have the option either to: 

  • establish a company with complete ownership; or 
  • purchase all shares of an existing Turkish company.

A foreign business that intends to operate in Türkiye directly as a foreign investor can:

  • incorporate or invest in companies; or 
  • establish: 
    • a liaison office;
    • a branch; or 
    • a Turkish subsidiary. 

Likewise, foreign individuals can invest in real estate, although certain geographical and military zone limitations apply. Furthermore, foreign investors residing outside Türkiye can conduct transactions involving Turkish securities and other capital markets instruments with ease, facilitated through authorised banks or brokerage houses.

However, there are various restrictions on foreign shareholdings in specific sectors. In such cases, foreign ownership and investments are either explicitly prohibited by law; or subject to predefined maximum thresholds. For instance:

  • the aggregate foreign ownership in media service companies is capped at 50%; and 
  • foreign shareholdings in the maritime sector are restricted to 49%.

Additionally, in select sensitive sectors – including insurance, banking, telecommunications and energy – foreign investors must seek prior approval from the relevant regulatory authority. Reciprocity also plays a role in certain sectors, such as private security services.