The Adana Yumurtalik Free Zone was established under a Ministry Directive on March 3, 1985. TAYSEB took over management of the facility on May 25, 1990 and was given Ministry approval on December 12, 1990 by the State Planning Organization for 30 years to pursue development according to the Build-Operate-Transfer planning model. Regional political issues called a temporary halt to plans in 1990.

Starting in 1997, with the favorable economic situation related to the Eastern Anatolian Project and then continuing with the infrastructure investments in September of 1998, investments and developments in the Adana YUmurtalik Free Zone have increased.

A History of Free Trade Zones in Turkey

Although the most recent activity related to Free Zones begins in the 1980s, the history extends back as far as the time of the Ottoman Empire. The Sulina Port, located at the point that the Danube empties into the Black Sea, was established as a Free Zone as far back as 1870 in the Ottoman times.

The first law regarding Free Zones after the founding of the Turkish Republic in the Free Zone Law, number 1132, dating back to 1927. This regulation, which allowed for the Ford Motor Company to operate in a free zone near Istanbul, became law in 1929. The plan was for cars, trucks and tractors to be assembled in a factory in Tophane, but although production was begun, because of the Great Depression, the project was abandoned.

The 1946 Free Zone law number 4893 targeting oriental rugs and carpets was the second experiment of the Republic era. The plan was for the Denizcilik Bank to store and export these goods at a location in the Eminonu area of Istanbul. Unfortunately, this second attempt was unsuccessful.

Unable to gain traction with these trials, law number 6209, passed in 1953, facilitated the establishment of Free Zones. In the hopes of making progress, further regulations were passed in 1956. In 1957, the Turkish Railways opened a Free Zone of 4.600 m2 at the Iskenderun port, but the zone was eventually closed due to a lack of interest.

In the 1980s, work was once again started and on June 15, 1985, law number 6209 covering Free Zones was enacted. Whereas previously separate laws had been passed for each different Free Zone, the March 3, 1993 Regulations Regarding Free Zones established a single law to cover all Free Zones.