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People react near a military vehicle during an attempted coup in Ankara, Turkey, on July 16.


As Turkey slides into authoritarian rule following a failed coup on July 15, Murad Al-Katib expects he will continue to export lentils.

"There was minimal disruption in the port," says Mr. Al-Katib, president and chief executive officer of AGT Food and Ingredients Inc., headquartered in Regina.

Within a day of the failed coup, "it was more or less business as usual. Our factories are running, we have been receiving and shipping out from there."

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Consensus among Canadians who watch Turkey closely is that the business climate will be stable, but "we really have to watch what happens in the next two weeks," says Dirk Matten, a strategy professor and corporate social responsibility expert at the Schulich School of Business at York University and a visiting professor at Sabanci University in Istanbul.

"The mood [in Turkey] is funnily mellow but also very wary," he says.

Mr. Al-Katib does not believe his business will be affected significantly after the crackdown by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"This is a country that over the years has shown incredible resiliency in terms of their ability to deal with these types of crises," Mr. Al-Katib says.

In part, he also attributes his business-as-usual prediction to the fact that his Canadian company is a key supplier of lentils. It's a food staple, not just to Turkey but also to much of the Middle East, through the Turkish port of Mersin, where AGT employs about 800 people.

"About half a billion dollars of our revenues go through Turkey. We're also feeding Syrian refugees and we have a vibrant re-export market," he says.

It is not business as usual for everyone in Turkey, though. In the aftermath of the failed coup, the democratically elected Mr. Erdogan has asked his parliament to declare a three-month state of emergency, suspending civil rights and granting him sweeping powers.

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Tens of thousands of people have been arrested, fired or suspended.

Despite the swiftness and extent of these measures, "We don't know yet how serious the crackdown will be," Dr. Matten says. Even if the boot-heel comes down hard, post-coup measures will not necessarily affect all Canadian businesses in the same way, if at all.

"Lentils are an easier business because you're importing a commodity that's a vital part of the Turkish diet," he explains. "Companies in sectors like mining, with assets on the ground in Turkey, have to watch more carefully."

"There hasn't really been an effect on Canadian companies doing business over there aside from the delicacy of the situation," says Mike Ward, director of the Canada-Turkey Business Council.

He believes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has been taking a sensible approach so far: careful and watchful.

Ottawa has issued travel advisories for Canadians visiting or planning to visit Turkey and the Prime Minister has called for "restraint by all parties," with Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion expressing concern about possible moves by the Turkish government to reinstate the death penalty.

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"Up to last week, GDP in Turkey was up about 5 per cent annually, their Canadian exports are up about 7 per cent over the same period as last year, January to May," Mr. Ward says.

"From a Canadian business perspective, any sector is good. Our exports to Turkey are more than a billion dollars this year, which is a great place to be. It puts us ahead of many of our exports to European Union countries. They have public-private partnerships, they're building hospitals, megaprojects, rapid transit, roadways, bridges."

Turkey's public-private-partnerships include a memorandum of understanding between its state-owned railway and Canada's Bombardier Transportation, which will make a $100-million technology-transfer investment in a high-speed rail project there.

Canada's two-way trade in goods in 2014 was $2.4-billion. With a population of nearly 80 million, Turkey, a member of the G20, is the third most populous country in Europe and straddles Europe and Asia.

Dr. Matten sees both risks and opportunities for Canadians doing business in Turkey right now.

To avoid the threats, Canadians need to understand the different and often shifting alliances within Turkey's business community.

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Big, family-owned conglomerates dominate a large part of the domestic economy, he says. These family-owned businesses have tended to be allies of Mr. Erdogan's opposition, "but he relies on them; they're the backbone of the Turkish economy and social life," Dr. Matten says.

Mr. Erdogan and his AKP party have been building their own business elite as a counterweight to the family-owned opposition-minded businesses, and Turkey is also enjoying the rise of its own homegrown high-tech sector, the "Anatolian tigers," Dr. Matten says.

Something to watch is how authoritarian the Erdogan regime becomes with its emergency powers, he says. Foreign businesses could be put at risk if the regime flouts international trade and business laws, for example.

On the other hand, this could be good for Canada, Dr. Matten says. Turkish businesses might be looking to us as a safe place to invest.

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