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Technology Public Relations in Turkey
A fast growing market means opportunities for those prepared.
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 by Feray Alpay
Promedia Public Relations Company

Feray AlpayTurkey, with its very young population, is one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world.

According to BMI (Business Monitor International) Turkey will be one of the best expanding technology markets in the world between 2009- 2014.  

Here are answers to common questions about “Technology Public Relations” in Turkey.

Q: How big is the Turkish Technology Market and are there a lot of Technology companies that request PR services in Turkey?

A: The Turkish Technology market was around USD 45 billion (USD 28 billion ICT Market and USD 15 billion Consumer Electronics Market) in 2010. Turkey is the only country that hosts all five major international technology retailers (Best Buy, Media Markt, Electro World, Darty and Saturn). That’s why many international technology companies are keeping an eye on the Turkish Technology Market. Some of them are already in Turkey, some of them are planning to enter the market. It is very important to generate and maintain a good relationship with the public for these companies. Most of them require public relations. The companies either get a professional PR service from an agency or they hire the person themselves. Technology PR has become one of the most essential parts of PR in Turkey.

Marketing Executives and CIO’s want high tech PR for their companies so that they can manage the reputation and perception of their company in the Turkish market. It helps them create an awareness of the product, brand or services of their company.  

Q: What are the most important media in Turkey (print, TV, radio)? Why? What role does the internet play? What role do social media play? What are the most important portals/ networks/ blogs, that companies should have in mind and pay attention to?

A. Due to family and cultural characteristics in Turkey, a major part of the society spends their whole evening watching television. Therefore, television is still the most important medium in Turkey.

With a population of 73 million, Turkey’s Reading and Watching Rates are as follows: 

Television watching 94%
Radio listening 25%
Newspaper reading 22%
Book reading 4.5%
Magazine reading 4%

As these statistics indicate, printed media, namely newspapers and magazines remain far behind television. 

On the other hand, due to the increase in the use of internet as well as television and print media in Turkey, online media have accelerated rapidly. According to the results of a survey conducted in the year 2010, 41% of residences have internet access. This rate was 30% in the year 2009.

According to survey results, computer use in the 16-74 age group is 53%, whereas internet use is 51%. Three out of every five individuals using the internet use it everyday.

As for the place where the computer is used, the home is on top with 70% followed by workplace with 31.3%. The age group with the highest computer and internet use rates is 16-24. The rates are higher for males in all age groups. Seventy-two percent of Individuals use internet for e-mail, and 64% for chat and forum rooms. Fifty-nine percent of internet users follow the news, papers or magazines via internet. As the results indicate, in the future we are sure that there will be closer cooperation with online media on the issue of “Media communication.”

Use of social media has been increasing rapidly in Turkey within the last 2 years. After the USA, Turkey is the second country with the most Facebook accounts. Twitter and Linkedin are the social media portals that are most commonly preferred in Turkey. News sites, sector sites and forums are those that are followed most in the business area.

Q: What are the most common misunderstandings/ mistakes of foreign companies regarding media relations in Turkey? How does one cope with them?

A: The common mistake of foreign companies in Turkey is to build relations with Turkish media using the same methods they generally use in foreign countries. Since communication and personal relations are essential, many practices in PR and media relations in different countries show similarities for sure. However, it should be noted that Turkey’s cultural, religious and traditional characteristics are determinant in communications.

Media relations in Turkey are based on close and personal friendships, rather than corporate and standardized practices as in EU and USA. It would be too optimistic to e-mail press releases to Turkish media and expect them to be published because the desired result can only be achieved with a media pitch via telephone or visits.

Another common mistake is foreign companies’ media communication attempts focused on marketing solely. However, what the media want to hear from foreign companies are global developments or trends and related information as well as product or service presentations. 

Q: What tonality is regarded appropriate?

A: In Turkey persistent or too formal media relations are not successful. In general, friendly approaches and offers of cooperation are and the media accept consistent approaches.

Q: What messages should normally be promising especially for “Technology” companies on media? What can be harmful or even dangerous? 

A: In Turkey 25,000 foreign companies operate as investors. There are thousands of international technology companies as well. When countries are considered, German companies hold the first rank with 5,000 companies. And many other Technology companies are getting ready to operate in Turkey. Turkish consumers are interested in the technological superiority of products or services. Turkish consumers want to know how a new technology product or service will make their life easier.

For sure what is interesting for the media is interesting for the readers as well. Turkish readers follow the issues in relation to themselves, as in any other country. A foreign company’s global sales, equipment or plant size is not very interesting for readers. The reader is interested in the actual benefit to be provided by the foreign company's product or service. While determining their messages, foreign companies should not mention themselves solely, and they explain the solutions the product or service are to offer. Releases starting with “We as the leading firm in the sector…” are now unlikable.  So are too much emphasis on the vision and mission. Reader and media for sure want to hear about solutions from Technology companies.

Q: Are there linguistic barriers for non-Turkish companies? Press conferences for example: can companies presuppose English as the lingua franca? Is there need for an interpreter?

A: The number of people knowing a foreign language is quite low in Turkey. Therefore, arrangements should be made accordingly. While organizing media tours to foreign countries, we have difficulties with foreign language. We cannot include many successful reporters in press tours due to the foreign language barrier. In the press conferences held for foreign companies we strongly recommend use of “simultaneous interpretation.”

Q: What significance do the current EU-accession negotiations have for media work in Turkey? Are there new opportunities for companies and their PR-apparatus?

A: Turkish media as well as the whole society closely follow Turkey’s EU accession process. After Turkey’s became a member of the European Customs Union, the trade volume between Turkey and EU increased significantly. During EU accession negotiations, all sectors in Turkey check themselves and are getting ready for new partnerships and cooperation with European companies. Due to Turkey’s big and dynamic economy and young population of 73 million, many companies in Europe are getting ready to enter the Turkish market. Therefore, I think foreign companies will also need PR service in Turkey in the future.

Q: Are there special legal aspects companies and PR-agencies have to observe?

A: There are some professional rules to be observed by both media and PR companies, in Turkey as in many other countries. Principles and common decisions published by professional associations of media establishments and PR companies shape the relations in ethical terms. However, it is not possible tell that such rules are strictly obeyed.

Q: Which traditions, which special forms between companies and press do exist?

A: Sending chocolates to media employees for religious festivals or giving small gifts for New Year’s can be considered traditional practices.

Q: What locations are most suitable for media events in Turkey?

A: With its population of 15 million, Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey. Therefore, national media establishments are located in Istanbul.  If no regional work is required, Istanbul should be chosen for media events. Since it is a big city, there is no region considered as “downtown”. Therefore, different regions can be selected for media events, depending on the sector or product. For example, for a meeting on IT, 5-star hotels in the Taksim or Levent area may be convenient. If it is a cultural media event, then the hotels in “Sultanahmet” may be chosen.

Q: Is it common to invite journalists for one-on-one interviews?

A: In Istanbul, it is possible to gather all the representatives of the media by holding a press conference in a certain venue at a certain time. However, such a media event can sometimes be unsatisfactory due to media’s busy schedule or traffic. Therefore, one-on-one interviews in a 5-star hotel can be more effective than a single press conference.

Feray Alpay is a public relations and corporate communications specialist
 in Turkey. He has been working as General Manager at 
Promedia Public Relations Co. since 1992. 
For further information on public relations in Turkey visit

or contact

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