Turkish for Business: 4 Key Reasons to Start Today

In an interconnected global economy, the ability to communicate across cultural and linguistic divides is more than just a skill—it’s a strategic asset. For company leaders and professionals aiming to expand their reach, learning Turkish for business can unlock new markets and opportunities. Spoken by approximately 75 million people as their first language and an additional 15 million as a second language, Turkish offers significant business advantages.

From an economic standpoint, Turkey represents a dynamic and growing market. The country bridges Europe and Asia, making it a strategic hub for trade and commerce. With its developing economy and strategic geopolitical position, Turkey is rapidly becoming a focal point for international business and investment. Knowing Turkish opens doors to a vibrant international market, providing direct communication advantages that can be critical when negotiating and establishing partnerships.

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In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the strategic importance of learning Turkish for business, highlighting key sectors for investment, and how mastering the language can significantly benefit your business operations and relationships.

1. The Widespread Influence of the Turkish Language

Turkish is more than just the official language of Turkey; it’s a key linguistic bridge connecting diverse economies across several regions. As the native language of approximately 75 million people, Turkish commands significant influence, not only within Turkey but also far beyond its borders.

In addition to the native speakers in Turkey, the language’s reach extends across the Balkans and the Middle East, where it has historical ties and has official status in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Macedonia to name a few. Particularly noteworthy is Turkish’s prominence in Germany, where it is the second most spoken language after German. This is largely due to the substantial Turkish immigrant population that has established itself since the mid-20th century. According to data from the German Statistical Office, over 2.8 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany, making Turkish a pivotal language in major cities and significant economic sectors within the country.

This extensive demographic presence highlights the practical utility of learning Turkish for business professionals. In Germany, and across Europe, Turkish-speaking communities play a vital role in local economies, contributing to a diverse range of industries from retail to technology. Businesses aiming to engage with these communities, or to operate in or with Turkey, will find a profound advantage in understanding Turkish culture and the Turkish language, not only to facilitate communication but also to deepen cultural connections that are essential for successful business relationships.

2. Key Industries and Career Opportunities in Turkey

Learning Turkish for business brings huge benefits for professionals by providing access to several of Turkey’s burgeoning industries, where language proficiency facilitates deeper business relations and operational efficiency. But, what are the main industries you will gain access to by learning Turkish?

One of the most prominent sectors in Turkey is the automotive industry. As a well-established sector, automotive manufacturing in Turkey is not only a major contributor to the national economy but also a field with extensive export activities, accounting for a significant portion of Turkey’s total exports. The industry supports around 400,000 jobs and is characterised by a high degree of integration into global supply chains, emphasising the need for communication and negotiation skills in Turkish to engage with local suppliers and global market stakeholders​​.

Shipbuilding is another significant industry, where Turkey has made considerable advancements and ranks among the top shipbuilding nations globally. This sector encompasses everything from construction to maintenance and recycling of ships, offering diverse job opportunities. With Turkish shipyards increasingly engaging in international trade, proficiency in Turkish is crucial for professionals looking to operate in or with this sector​​.

The defence and military industries in Turkey have seen substantial growth too, with the country aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in defence products. The industry’s expansive development includes a broad range of projects, from manufacturing military equipment to research and development, making it a significant area for potential career opportunities. This sector not only demands technical expertise but also a good command of Turkish to navigate the intricacies of governmental and defence contracts​​.

Additionally, the steel and iron industries in Turkey are robust, with the country being a major exporter. The industry’s focus on high-quality production and international standards offers numerous opportunities, particularly in export management and industrial operations. Knowledge of Turkish can provide a strategic advantage in dealing with both domestic operations and international sales​​.

Last but not least, Turkey’s engagement in advanced manufacturing—which includes automotive, aviation, electronics, chemicals, and textiles—relies heavily on innovation and integration into the global market. The adoption of industry 4.0 technologies and the drive towards digitalisation in manufacturing underscore the need for professionals who are not only tech-savvy but also fluent in Turkish to effectively collaborate on international projects and initiatives​​.

3. Bridging the Linguistic Gap: The Strategic Importance of Learning Turkish

In Turkey, only about 17% of the population reports being able to speak English, which translates to approximately 14.3 million people out of a total population of around 84 million​​​​. This relatively low proficiency level indicates that English is not widely spoken outside of major tourist destinations and large urban centres like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. Therefore, for professionals and businesses aiming to operate successfully in Turkey, learning Turkish is not just beneficial—it’s a strategic necessity.

In contrast, the proficiency of Turkish among the native British population is quite low, despite the presence of significant Turkish communities in the UK. These communities are primarily concentrated in London and include Turkish Cypriots and mainland Turks, totaling between 300,000 to 400,000 people. However, the number of native British people who speak Turkish fluently is relatively small. This linguistic gap underscores a unique opportunity for British professionals: learning Turkish can provide a competitive edge and foster deeper business and cultural ties with Turkey, a key player in various global industries.

What’s more, the economic ties between Turkey and Britain further emphasise the importance of the linguistic connection between these regions. The UK is one of Turkey’s largest trading partners, with significant exchanges in goods, services, and investment. Key sectors of collaboration include automotive, energy, and technology. By bridging the language gap, professionals can facilitate smoother transactions, foster stronger relationships, and enhance mutual understanding, thus positioning themselves as invaluable assets in these markets.

4. The Relative Simplicity of the Turkish Language

Learning Turkish offers a distinct advantage due to its highly regular and systematic structure, setting it apart from English, which is known for its irregularities and exceptions. One of the key features of Turkish is its agglutinative nature, meaning that you can add a series of suffixes to a root word to change its meaning and grammatical function without altering the suffixes themselves. This consistency makes it straightforward to expand your vocabulary and grasp complex concepts once you understand the basic rules.

For example, in Turkish, verb tenses, moods, and even negations are formed by adding consistent suffixes to verb stems. The verb “gelmek” (to come) can be transformed into “geliyorum” (I am coming) by adding “-iyorum” which consistently indicates the present continuous tense across all verbs.

Moreover, Turkish uses vowel harmony, a process where vowels within a word harmonise to be either front or back vowels, making pronunciation more intuitive once the pattern is recognised. This rule simplifies learning since it reduces the number of potential vowel sounds you need to remember in different contexts.

Additionally, if you already know another Turkic language, such as Azerbaijani or Uzbek, you will find many similarities in vocabulary, structure, and phonetics, which can accelerate your learning process.

According to the US government’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Turkish is categorised as a Category III language, meaning it generally takes around 44 weeks or 1100 class hours for an English speaker to reach general professional proficiency.

This makes Turkish relatively easier to learn compared to other significant languages for business, such as Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic, which are classified as Category IV or V languages by the FSI. These languages typically require significantly more time to achieve proficiency—Mandarin and Arabic, for instance, often need at least 88 weeks or 2200 class hours. The structured simplicity of Turkish, therefore, presents a less daunting challenge for learners aiming to broaden their linguistic and cultural understanding for business purposes.

Learning Turkish for Business: Start Your Journey with Language Trainers

As we have explored, the benefits of learning Turkish for business are immense, from accessing key industrial sectors in Turkey to enhancing your ability to bridge significant cultural and linguistic gaps in international markets. Whether you are looking to foster new business relationships, expand into vibrant markets, or simply gain a competitive edge in your professional field, Turkish offers a gateway to a wealth of opportunities.

At Language Trainers, we understand that every professional’s learning needs and schedules are unique. That’s why we offer flexible learning options that cater to every preference, including both online courses and in-person Turkish lessons in London and other cities. What’s more, you can choose from one-to-one sessions, which provide personalised attention and customised lessons to meet your specific objectives, or group courses, which are ideal for businesspeople and professionals looking to learn together with colleagues. Group learning not only enhances the learning experience through peer interactions but also helps in building team cohesion when multiple members from the same company participate.

→Sign Up Now: Free Trial Turkish Lesson With a Native Teacher!←

Our Turkish courses are conducted by native speakers who are not only experts in the language but also well-versed in the cultural nuances that are critical when doing business in Turkey. This means that while you learn the language, you will also gain insights into Turkish business etiquette and other cultural specifics that are invaluable in professional interactions and negotiations.

Whether you are just starting out or looking to advance your Turkish language skills, Language Trainers is here to support you every step of the way. Don’t miss the opportunity to make Turkish a valuable asset for your professional growth and business success.

Contact Language Trainers now to find out more about our tailor-made Turkish courses and how we can help you achieve your business and professional goals through language learning.