Self-Employment in Turkey

This guide was written by Başak Yıldız Orkun, Managing Partner at Orkun & Orkun (info@orkunorkun.com) in collaboration with Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 26 June 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide is about working for yourself in Turkey.

You may also want to watch the video version of this guide, which goes into a little more detail, or download the audio (MP3) guide.


It is often difficult for a foreigner to find legal employment in Turkey and so the obvious question arises as to whether, if you can't work for somebody else, you can set up your own business and work for yourself.

The short answer is: maybe.

How can I work for myself in Turkey?

There are two ways of working for yourself. The first is as a self-employed person. You work in your own name (rather than by setting up some business entity to deliver your service) and you are taxed on the profits you generate.

The second is to set up a company (owned either by you alone or by you and other people)  and then for you to work for that company.

In both cases you are, in essence, your own boss and your income depends upon the profits from your own labour.

It is, realistically, not possible for most foreigners to become self-employed in Turkey. But it is possible for them to set up a business and then work for it. See our Guide to Starting a Business in Turkey.

That business does not need to be a limited company or, indeed, anything fancy. It merely needs to be a tax registered business.


Well, this was a short guide. Please follow it up by reading our other work and business guides - or by contacting me - so that you can find the best option for working in Turkey.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
Click to see this guide
Starting a Business in Turkey
How to set up your own Turkish business
Click to see this guide
Employment Law in Turkey
Rights and responsibilities of employers and employees
Click to see this guide

Readers' Comments


Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Başak Yıldız Orkun

26 June 2017


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