** UPDATE: As two participants at the meeting unanimously report, the Ministry of Tourism has now decided to postpone the flagging out to 2020
After the badly battered charter industry in Turkey was just on the way to recovery and the first fleet operators opened new bases, another severe blow threatens. As various charter company owners confirm, the Ministry of Tourism is currently considering only issuing a charter license for yachts under the Turkish flag at the start of the season.
The existing permits for the fleets expire on March 31st, which puts the fleet operators under considerable pressure to act. You would have to reflag all ships before the first bookings in April - a step that many European owners should not like.
Yachts flying all foreign flags have so far been taxed differently in Turkey than domestic ones: owners who put their ship under the German flag in a charter fleet had to acquire an annual charter license with which the tax was paid per berth. There was a fixed rate of $ 250 per existing berth no matter how many weeks the ship was chartered. An attractive model when the workload is good.
Two European fleet operators, who did not want to be named, confirmed to the YACHT that such a change is being discussed and that they are preparing to change the flag of their own yachts at short notice. A managing director also complained that it would be difficult in the future to sell German owners a yacht in a charter model in Turkey if it then had to be placed under the Turkish flag. Because that means that your own ship is completely subject to Turkish legislation. Since there have repeatedly been reports of cases in which Turkish companies whose owners did not conform to the government's course were more or less expropriated, the question arises as to what happens to ships flying the national flag in such a case.
But yesterday afternoon, a meeting between the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and representatives of the charter industry took place in which the industry expressed its concerns. On the one hand, there is a risk of foreign yachts being withdrawn from the fleets and marinas, and the industry would lose many charter weeks and the shipyards would lose service and repair orders. Since customers bring a lot of money to the region via transfers, restaurants, markets, flights and so on, such a sudden change in current practice is counterproductive for Turkey, which is currently economically troubled.