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It is known that people did not satisfy with “domestic” trade in their countries, and they oriented towards “foreign” trade over time, and they organized in the countries they traded, thus, the races to get more shares from the trades continued for centuries. The situation we tried to express in brief is the summary of a model successfully applied by Phoenicians in the ancient times, by Chinese people and Venetians then Genoese people in the following period of time, and by Italians at the beginning of 20th Century. 

Peoples from above-mentioned countries, at the beginning, consciously went to other countries for trading, and proved their worth by making strenuous efforts then made their presence felt. 

Given the historical process of our people’s “international expansion” and “entrepreneurship” manner, it can be clearly seen that nobody went abroad peculiarly for this purpose. 

Europe, swiftly recovered after the 2nd World War in the second half of the 20th Century, began for requirement of foreign work force, Germany as to be the first, only 15 years after the War. Rapid developments in the economies and new industrial moves kept this requirement in the agenda during 1960s. Within this framework, the considerable work force flow was happened from our country to Europe, and then these people made undeniable contributions to Europe’s development and industrialization for the first decade. Those people and their children by following them will start from retail works, and then will be importers, wholesalers, suppliers, exporters, entrepreneurs, employers; that is to say, they will be businessmen over time. 

When one said “our businessmen abroad”, the ones first to be remembered certainly will be those “pioneers”. If we look at the topic in view of multidimensional aspect, studying the Turkish businessmen fact by periods of “60s”, “70s”, “80s”, and “90s” will be the rational approach from the systematic point of view. Beginnings of all to be narrated, as an historical coincidence, concurred in the first years of the said decade. 

The periods cited above can be expressed with below headings: 
1960s: “Pioneers and Initial Entrepreneurs”
1970s: “Pioneers are Improving, and Turkey Expands Abroad: They are the Contractors”
1980s: “Pioneers are the Employers and Offices are Opened Abroad by Turkish              Exporters”
1990s: “Pioneers are the Investors and Turkey Totally Expands Abroad”

“Pioneers and Initial Entrepreneurs” 

With a view of meeting the needs of our people went abroad as the workforce, this period begins with the opening of retail shops (such as fresh fruits & vegetables, dry foods, meat, dairy products, and bakery products, etc.); a few at the beginning, then numerously in a couple of years. Why because, our people’s palatal delight did not match with the foods in foreign countries. This problem was to be solved immediately. And then, so called the initial entrepreneurs of us started to be appeared in foods and gastronomy businesses as explained above. 60s will be passed with expanding retail businesses in foods and gastronomy. The first entrepreneurship patterns are “Flight Tickets Sell”, and partly being agencies for “bank credits”. Our entrepreneurs abroad, who planted the first seeds in those years, are the pioneers of us in the road reaching to an endorsement of hundred billions of dollars, in a very short period of such like 20 years and in a very vast sectoral spectrum.

1970s: “Pioneers are Improving, and Turkey Opens Abroad: They are the Contractors” 

Expanding in retail trade is still going on. Turkish entrepreneurs abroad are moving with firm steps on the road that goes “from retail trade to importing and wholesale trade”, “from wholesale trade to production”, “from selling flight tickets to establishing  travel agencies”. The new ideas and projects are also coming to the agenda during this development process. One of them is textile and ready made clothing trade. This “textile adventure” begins with “t-shirts” in the second half of 70s and reaches to unbelievable dimensions in 80s. Banks, in the mean time, were opening their bureaus in the areas in which our citizens were heavily living, with a view to facilitate sending their savings to Turkey. 

The activities shown by our businessmen, who went abroad as “workforce” at the first half of 60s and then brought their “entrepreneurship” characteristics in to forefront in the short time, still could not be performed by our businessmen in Turkey. The import substitution policies are the biggest barriers in front of our companies dealing with commodity trade and trying to expand abroad. The “export conscious” still did not fully matured. Because of the applied policies and the closed commercial environment against the competition with foreign markets, domestic market is being more attractive to the biggest productive companies, so the exporting, i.e. expanding to abroad is not interesting for them. 

Nevertheless, there is an activity in our contracting sector. Expanding abroad process started in the first half of 70s. The first country to which they exported their services is Libya. They started for their Libya projects by importing necessary technologies from Europe. Following this, Turkish building sector continues to gradually improving and gets into the other international markets first starting from some middle-east markets such as Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Iran. More than 70% of the works done abroad, especially in 70s, had been realized in Arabian countries. 

In that way, if the term is convenient, a new “wave” was added to the “pioneers” who went abroad for working at the beginning of 60s: Our contractors. According to the 70s evaluations, our contractors’ successes are enormous for Turkey that was closed to abroad at that time. 

“Pioneers are the Employers and Expanding to Abroad of Turkish Exporters” 
A new period starts in Turkey. Decisions of 24 January 1980 ensure Turkey to meet some new terms such as “competition, development based on exports, liberal economy”. “Expanding to abroad” will start in real sense. Export is in the leading role. Foreign Trade Stock Companies are important models for expanding abroad. Following the “pioneers” and the “contactors” the third wave comes. Large scale companies, as to be the Capital Stock Foreign Trade Companies in leading, are being organized in foreign countries. They open liaison offices in important buyer markets. The most important center is Germany. Young people, who know foreign languages and well understood the international expanding, are being commissioned in these offices. Capital Stock Foreign Trade Companies, as if they are schools, train foreign trade personnel. These youngsters, who will be the biggest “exporters” in 90s, gradually gain experiences in serious manner. 

Entrepreneurship dimension of our citizens, who went abroad in60s, gains deepness upon well educated and skilled “Secondary Generation” became the part of activities. New Turkish entrepreneurs, who may be classified in some categories such as “importer”, “importer-wholesaler” and “importer-retailer”, begin clearly prove their worth in line with 24 January 1980 decisions. Beyond this, “pioneers” begin for production activities in various areas and they are deservedly proud of themselves because they employ foreigners. Converting commercial attempts and organizing activities of Turkish community to investment and production should be explained by becoming conscious of our people in Europe, but not with coincidences. This period also covers changing of our export structure from depending to agricultural products to the varying and getting richer situation, and also becoming weighted industrial products. “Liberal Economy” in Turkey open the way for them and broaden their horizon. 

Our businessmen abroad begin to be organized by establishing some associations in the second half of 80s. Establishing association events are a little bit exaggerated, so some will be eliminated but some possessing strong substructures will go on to their activities. 

Our contractors successfully expand their activity areas. They become, in point of other countries, a serious competitive fact in constructing markets. 
Covering distance in tourism sector, on the other hand, is also being observed with admiration by everybody. Turkish companies, by taking concrete places, become rivals of the biggest tourism companies in Europe. There is a great success in passing from ticket sell and travel agencies to tourism management activities. 
Our banks that were opened bureaus abroad for money transfers begin to open branches. This expanding event in banking and finance sector will cause banks to be opened abroad.
“Pioneers are the Global Investors and Turkey Totally Expands to Abroad” 
The political map of Europe thoroughly changes following collapse down of “Iron Curtain” at the end of 80s and beginning of 90s. East Germany and West Germany reunites. The Soviet Union and the East European Block are the things of the past. Tens of countries arising from this block change over to market liberalization then apply international expansion policies. Large amount of capital flows to these countries. Turkish entrepreneurs both from Turkey and in every corner of the world go to these countries to make investments. They are successful. Companies established by Turks in some countries reach to thousands in short time. Turkish entrepreneurs participate in these “new” markets on a large sectoral spectrum. 

Now, when we talk about our businessmen abroad we refer to the all pioneers who went broad to make direct trading in 60s, 80s and 90s. 
In the meantime, our businessmen’s efforts of founding associations continue with all its speed. Founding associations in the first half of 90s as in the form included all product groups regardless the activity subjects in general, turn towards specialized associations model over time (for example; textile, foods, tourism, etc.). 
The “pioneers”, who inflexibly maintain their entrepreneurship characteristics since 60s, are now in everywhere of the world. They also start investments in Turkey. Especially textile and tourism take place in the first lines of the investment plans of them. 

Turkish contractors started to work in former Soviet Union countries beginning from the first half of 80s. They heavily oriented to the Commonwealth of Independent States and East European and Asian countries because of economic depressions and some political uncertainties that have been suffered in the Middle-east and North African countries in 90s. In this context, they had undertaken some important projects in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Caucasian countries, Central Asian Republics, Germany, and Pakistan and in the Far-east countries. 

Despite the above-mentioned evaluations made as “Europe” oriented, the development process in Australia continent nearly overlaps with Europe pattern. As for Northern America, despite the development of process is some different, general commercial composition and organizing forms show considerable similarities in terms of Turkish businessmen in the world. We would like to emphasis herein honestly and truly that the term “pioneers” we used when we are frequently citing about our businessmen abroad covers all our people who went first to Soviet Union and to the countries in East European Block before 90s, and then to Europe, America, Australia, and to Northern Africa with all their inflexibility and encouragement, and thus came to the days of our time working patiently and obstinately, furthermore, breeding the second, even the third generations.

At the end of historical development process that we tried to encapsulate as above, although it would not be a valid pattern for all countries, the compositions of our businessmen abroad by their activity areas can be summarized under heading “Turkish Entrepreneurs Abroad” as below.  

Turkish Entrepreneurs Abroad 
I – Business Sector 

  1. Retailers
  2. Importer wholesalers
  3. Importer wholesalers/retailers
  4. Importer retailers
  5. Suppliers
  6. Chain store
  7. Construction and buildings sector
  8. Liaison offices, bureaus in various sectors
  9. Others (Carpenter’s workshop, glazier, etc.)

II – Service Sector 

  1. Tourism companies
  2. Gastronomy
  3. Consultancy companies
  4. Chartered accountants
  5. Commercial representatives, brokers
  6. Others (Cleaning companies, painting services, building renovation, taxi operators, car repair shops. Etc.)

III – Finance Sector 

  1. Banking activities (the banks which were established as incorporated companies in accordance with the regulation of home country and nearly total capital has been transferred from Turkey)
  2. Bank Branches (branches of the banks their headquarters are in Turkey)
  3. Representative Offices of the Banks (only the remittance transactions)
  4. Intermediary Companies for Financing 

Thousands of Turks who have been professionally working in the big companies those are active in the countries in which they lived to be added in this list, although they have not established a business and possessed a company in any way. Number of Turkish people included in this group, who have very interesting success stories, are increasing day by day. Some facts paved the way for Turkish professionals because “the second” and “the third” generations abroad became active, and Turkish universities started to put the education with foreign language in the first line as it would include the international expansion. 

It can be said that, at this point of nowadays, in the context of Turkish businessmen associations, inflation of associations that was suffered in 90s had been ended and the system has been rational. Our businessmen’s efforts about establishing organizations and being closely involved with decisions in the countries in which they lived were supported by various relevant establishments and institutions in Turkey. Some of these supports were transitory, nevertheless, “World Turkish Businessmen Conventions” started in the second half of 90s and arranged under the auspices of Presidents of the Republic and Prime Ministers became the very important institutional arrangements in terms of solidarity and communication among our businessmen. Thus, our businessmen abroad came together with businessmen in Turkey under the framework of “cooperation and collaboration” and then another historical step has been taken towards Turkish businessmen to be organized. 

In line with the importance of “Businessmen Abroad” fact, a new branch office of “Turkish Businessmen Abroad” was established in 1997 within the body of General Directorate of Exports department in the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade authority. In the same way, at the beginning of 2000s, a similar unit was established within the body of Small and Medium Sized Industries Development Organization (KOSGEB). 

When the potential of “Turkish Entrepreneurs” abroad has been combined with some realities such that our country covered a distance in exports, gained orienting to alternative products and markets, a noteworthy infrastructure in view of institutionalization was formed by our exporter companies, the consciousness of being “exporter country” and the concept of “need to export” were matured in the society despite all negativity depending on domestic and foreign economic crises occurred for seven years between 1994 and 2000, then, given all this, we believe that we are in such a period in which the synergy of “our businessmen inside and out of the country” should be activated as more effective. Economic stability atmosphere which was ensured after 2001, established a “geographical and sectoral extensiveness” in world scale and a “self confidence” fact that is increasingly developed. Making more active and conclusive of domestic & foreign togetherness will cause our economic life and exports to gain activity, consequently all our businessmen to be heavily oriented to Turkey, and important than everything, our businessmen abroad to get more share from exports realized between Turkey and the country they lived, furthermore, organizational commercial activities will be more effective before the said countries. 

Additionally we state that; we are not a defender of a tunnel vision such as our businessmen abroad should only be oriented to Turkey in respect of commercial relations; we know “profitability” is the basic factor in economic activities and in trade. And we are in a struggle for to state that our country is a profitable and productive investment area with its economic and politic stability as to be the first; and with close interest to economic activities granted by state authorities, occupational organizations and non-governmental organizations; with its production spectrum that has been gradually progressing in view of quality and quantity; sectoral deepness and concreteness; subventions that has been applied by modern methods; transport and logistics network, and with a lot of other elements in this context.