While many foreigners do work in Turkey, as the county is still outside of the European Union decent job opportunities can be difficult to come by. During the summer, employment in the tourist industry around the costal regions is easy enough to come by and there are usually jobs in real estate and demand for native English speakers for teaching but this work may or may not be legal.
While the larger cities like Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir have a variety of job suitable for foreigners that is an official list of occupations that are denied or require special permission such as jobs in the health service, legal services, tourist guides and stockbrokers. Turkish employment law states that foreigners can not work in a job that Turkish people can do. This means that the company you are working for has to have a good reason as to why they need to hire a non Turk such as language skills, knowledge of a foreign market and dealing with customers from abroad. If you have already been offered a job in Turkey then this has probably already been considered.
Native English speakers are always in demand as teachers in private and language schools if you have a degree and a teaching qualification, such as a TEFL certificate. You should be able to find contracts for 1 academics year or shorter summer terms and the schools will help sort out the details of a work permit. A majority of these jobs are only found in Istanbul and Ankara so you will be limited as to where you can go. Salaries vary quite widely depending on where you are and how much you work but often provide things like free accommodation of flights.
Seasonal work in the summer can be found in numerous resorts along the coast either through travel agencies or in bars or hotels. If you are working for a travel agency you will only require a residency visa Foreigners who are based in Turkey as tour operator representatives whose term does not exceed six months within one year are exempt from a work permit. If you are working in a bar, hotel or something similar it is very unlikely that you would be granted a work permit and as such will most likely be working illegally. The Gendarmerie or police will usually have a “clean up” every season to remove illegal workers, if caught working on a normal visa you will be deported straight away and both you and the business will be fined.
The difficulties of working in Turkey long term arise from the need to obtain a work permit and the bureaucracy that you need to fight your way through. There are various work permits that you can obtain depending on your circumstances. If there is a certain occupation you are qualified for unless you and a prospective employer can offer proof that only a foreigner can do the work then there is a very small chance of receiving a work permit.
A temporary work permits is issued by the Labor Ministry for the duration of up to one year. In doing so, the ministry considers the overall situation of the labor market, developments in the work environment, conjectural economic changes in employment, the validation period of the foreigner's residence permit and the duration of the work in question.
If you are going to work for yourself foreigners seeking independent employment whose five-year legal residency in Turkey without interruption can be proved by official documents endorsed by security authorities are granted independent work permits provided that the relevant public authorities and professional unions find this employment to contribute to the economy.
Permanent work permits, unless otherwise stipulated by bilateral or multilateral agreements, are granted to foreigners who have been in Turkey as legal residents for at least eight years without interruption and as worker for at least six years.