Although Turkey has been the recipient of considerable foreign aid, its leaders have also recognized the need for private foreign investment. By 1970, foreign capital could operate in any field of economic activity open to Turkish private capital, and there was no limit on the percentage of foreign participation in equity capital. However, direct capital investment by foreign companies from 1960 to 1979 averaged no more than $20 million annually, very low by OECD standards. This changed dramatically in 1980 with new foreign investment policies that cut red tape to gain more rapid approval for investment applications; inflows of private capital increased to $97 million in 1980, $337 million in 1981, and $913 million in 1992. In 1997, foreign direct investment in Turkey totaled over $1 billion. A majority (56.8%) of this investment went into manufacturing, while 40.5% was in services, 1.6% in agriculture, and 1.1% in mining.
Total Turkish direct foreign investments abroad totaled over $1.4 billion in 1997. Just over $323 million (22.2% of the total) is invested in the UK, $297.7 million in Germany, $102.2 million in the Netherlands, and $86.2 million in Russia. Other destinations for Turkish investors include Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Romania, and Kazakhstan.