Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said that tax-free tourism zones will be established in the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal provinces. According to Turkish daily Habertürk, these zones will have entertainment services and shopping malls that target tourists in the high income group, and Turkish citizens will not be allowed in without passports. The tax-free zones will be in Çeşme, Bodrum, Didim, Marmaris and west of Antalya, and the project envisions foreign boats and ships docking, bringing tourists who can enter without passports, as they would not officially be entering Turkey.
Indicating that Turkey has significant potential in the tourism sector, Zeybekci said that the Ministry of Economy will establish the free tourism zones with the cooperation of the ministries of finance, tourism and forestry. Zeybekci said that these zones would become important attraction points for the country, saying that Greece has a similar implementation with a different concept.
Instead of a single major zone, the project consists of several zones scattered around, initially, the Aegean coast, and one on the Mediterranean coast as well. The zones would adopt a fast-paced tourism approach where the tourist inflow and outflow would be continuous, with cruise ships and yachts docking in order to satisfy different needs as well as shopping and hotel accommodation. If there is a demand, golfing and hunting areas will be added to the list of facilities.
In what appears to be a tourism version of duty free zones, the tourist will not officially be stepping on Turkish soil, which reduces the paperwork burden. Zeybekci said that the public sector would establish the zone, then contract it out to the private sector, which will invest in the zone and then assume operating rights. "There will be very little construction, and all would be made within the framework of a certain concept," Zeybekci said. "There will be zero tax on shopping and accommodation," the minister highlighted, adding that those who work there will have the same advantage. Meanwhile, Turkish citizens would enter the zone like they would any other foreign country, being required to present their passports and subjected to customs duties.