Anybody who is planning to go to Turkey to do business should be aware of several cultural practices which influence business etiquette in the country. Turkish businessmen are known to firmly adhere to such practices and judge foreigners accordingly. The first thing that a businessperson should do is build a strong personal relationship with the local businessmen. The American investor should not be in such a hurry. He/she should first strive to become friends with Turkish businessmen and should never attempt to exert pressure and/or establish deadlines because decision-making in Turkey is a slow process.
(Doing Business in Turkey, n.d.)In addition, some important points are worth remembering. First, meetings are always started with the shaking of hands and first names are used even during first encounters. Then the dress code is white shirt, tie, and suit for men and conservatively cut skirt for women. Women should also avoid lipstick, showy jewelry, and perfume. If the American businessman wishes to offer a gift during a business meeting, Turkish businessmen prefer office items like pens, especially those with the logo of the company on them.
Under no circumstances should wine be offered as a gift. However, the Turk would gladly receive a bottle of whiskey. When the invitation is for a dinner in the house of a Turkish businessman, recommended gifts are chocolate, flowers, or even a simple scarf for the wife. Public display of affection is considered indecent and unacceptable in Turkish society. Business meetings should be avoided in July, August, and special holidays.
(Turkey Business Practice and Business Etiquette Tips, n.d.)It is all right to conduct business during a meal.
In fact, Turks like to talk business in restaurants because they consider their meal to be a moment of relaxation and a good time for conversation. However, Turkish protocol dictates that the host should always settle the bill. If a foreigner wants to reciprocate, he/she should arrange to invite his/her Turkish host later and then pay for their meal. (Doing Business in Turkey, n.d.)