Tourism is a major revenue earner in Turkey, bringing in US$25.4bn (2012), and marine tourism is being actively encouraged. to attract more foreign vessels, for example, a change in the law allows them to remain in Turkish waters for up to 5 years. However, with the purchase tax on new Turkish-registered boats running at 26%, this has led to the appearance of ‘the moustached foreigner,’ a term christened by Alpasian Sirkecioglu, chairman of the Marine trade Association DENTUR.

“Take a look at any of our marinas, and you would think that thousands of Turks went to America, bought a boat and sailed it back here,” he explained. “There are Delaware flags everywhere, because a lot of our citizens have registered their boats there. Even with the ongoing registration fees involved, owners are still a lot better off than paying purchase tax.”

Market overview: New build

A large number of Turkish new build yards have succumbed to competition from overseas, high purchase tax, and a glut of cheap second-hand boats from bank repossessions both in turkey and in neighbouring Greece. However, many segments of the superyacht sector continue to thrive.

Turkey’s government is backing the development of marinas along its coast as it looks to boost domestic boat usage

Turkey’s government is backing the development of marinas along its coast as it looks to boost domestic boat usage

“Turkey has shipyards of very different standards,” says Jean-Claude Carme, sales and marketing at Sunrise yachts. “While a handful of builders offer quality levels comparable to their best European counterparts, others satisfy themselves with a more basic approach, one that reflects poorly on the country. Turkey’s image can only be improved by continuously investing in increasing skills and delivering great yachts. Turkish people take great pride in their work, and in achieving quality when the proper environment is offered. Look at the Turkish-built Maltese Falcon, one of the most famous yachts in the world.”

NOTE: this is an excerpt of the country report featured in the April/May edition of IBI magazine. IBI Plus subscribers can access and download the full report at the IBI Plus website