They have lived and worked in tens of countries. When we asked them to made an evaluation of Turkey in terms of price, which is an important subject for the business community, they made some very accurate assessments. They were all unanimous that, because of the high tax rate, petrol, automobiles, imported alcoholic drinks and luxury products were all very expensive compared with other countries. Some of them had been surprised at the cost of real estate. While others could not understand why fish was so expensive in a country surrounded by water… We asked them which products they thought were expensive in Turkey.
There are a lot of companies with foreign partners which are active in Turkey. The international executives who manage them know Europe, America, the Far East and the Middle East well. They are able to compare Turkey with other countries in the world from many different perspectives. Capital asked expats currently living in Turkey which products in the country they found to be the most expensive. The expats said that the most expensive products were alcohol, automobiles and petrol.
Alcohol And Fish Surprising
Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay Bodrum General Manager Axel Ludwig, who has previous experience of working in Germany, Switzerland and Russia, heads the list of those complaining about the price of alcohol. Ludwig talked about the high tax on imported alcoholic drinks, which is one of the issues most frequently mentioned by those in the tourism industry. “International alcoholic drinks are much more expensive than in other countries,” he said. “Food in general is more reasonable, beside in maybe 20 restaurants in Istanbul, whereas I am surprised that wild fish is the same price as anywhere in Europe.” Ludwig thinks that the price of fish in Turkey, which is surrounded on three sides by the sea, should be cheaper than in European countries which do not have a coastline.
Real Estate Prices Are Expensive
Samsonite Türkiye General Manager John Haney previously lived in Britain, Norway and the Czech Republic. Haney believes that the cost of living is higher in Britain and Norway than in Turkey. But he thinks that real estate prices in Turkey are comparable to those in Britain and Norway. He believes that the services sector in Turkey provides high quality services appropriate to their price. Haney continued his comparison as follows: “Real estate is very expensive for western Europeans, particularly in capitals. The cost of living in the central European countries which have recently joined the EU is lower than in Turkey.”
Haney, who is very fond of good cuisine, made the following assessment of food prices in Turkey: “Thankfully, food prices are lower than the UK and Norway. A very positive situation for me in Turkey, as a wannabe chef, is the high quality of fresh meat and vegetables available.”
“It Is Good That We Can Get Blue Plate Cars”
Philip Morris Sabancı Corporate Relations Director Bisharah Baroudi previously worked in Dubai, Switzerland and Lebanon believes that, because of customs duties, automobile prices are more expensive than Dubai and Switzerland. Baroudi made the following analysis about this: “Cars are clearly more expensive than in Dubai and Switzerland in view of the high duty. Although foreigners can have a blue-plate car. But the annual renewal procedures and the limited opportunities for resale at the time of departure are problematic.”
Baroudi says that he had difficulties finding personnel who spoke English to help him in the house. He notes that it is easier to find personnel for a more reasonable price in Lebanon and Dubai. In this respect, he compared the situation in Turkey with the restrictions introduced by Switzerland on unskilled foreign workers.
“Cosmetics Are More Expensive Than In Europe”
Real Hypermarkets General Manager Ulf Groth, who has worked in many countries in Europe but mostly in his homeland of Germany, says that there have been striking differences between the last six years of his life and the rest. Groth describes Turkey as an agricultural country and notes that for this reason fruit and vegetables, bakery products and meat are 50 percent cheaper than in Europe. But Groth complains about the cost of shaving foam and other cosmetics products. He makes the following assessment about this as the executive of a retail company: “All cosmetic products are much more expensive in Turkey than anywhere else because most of the raw materials for the production have to be imported.”
Other consumer products which Groth finds expensive in Turkey are automobiles and petrol. Groth believes that there is a balance between people’s daily expenditure and consumption capacity in Turkey but says that when one tries to live a little more comfortably then Turkey becomes an expensive country.
“Inflation Is Still High”
Mohsen Noohi Has Seen 40 Countries
During his business career, Sony Eurasia General Manager Mohsen Noohi has worked in Britain, Germany, Iran and Turkey and visited 40 countries. He feels that he is fortunate to have been able to experience different cultures and lifestyles. Noohi says that he feels like a citizen of the universe and has been living in Turkey since 2002.
His View Of Turkey Has Changed In The Last Five Years
He says that at that time the world regarded Turkey and the Middle East differently. “Turkey has enjoyed an impressive market and economic growth since 2002, creating big business opportunities in Turkey,” he says.
A Large Market Which Can Develop Still Further
“I came because I believed that, for Sony, Turkey was a major market which could be developed in the long term,” says Noohi and comments that the results that have been achieved show that this assessment was correct. He describes his plans for 2008 and afterwards as follows: “The future is always uncertain but we are lucky – Turkish people love the Sony brand and our products. So I am confident we will continue to grow in the exciting market.”
Inflation Is Still High
Noohi notes that in the last few years inflation has been lower than in 2002 but adds that even these figures are high when compared with western Europe.
High Taxes Make Luxury Products Expensive
Noohi believes that any difficulty in living in Turkey comes from the extra tax on luxury products. Noohi does not know which products are cheap in Turkey but says: “Of course, if you go out of Istanbul to Anatolian cities, then basic food is cheaper than in western Europe. The Euro is specially strong, so this also helps the comparison.”