To work in Turkey, you must first have a job offer. Then your employer must apply for a work permit for you, as you make a simultaneous application as the person to be hired. You cannot work in Turkey without a work permit.
There is a continuing requirement for qualified, native-speaking English teachers country-wide. Besides that, many multi-national corporations have positions in management, marketing, sales, translation, and various other professional and technical positions which require a foreign worker, or which are difficult to fill with a Turkish citizen. Some hotels and travel-related companies even have summer positions for foreign workers.
Ask both Turkish and expat friends and acquaintances for businesses who are interested in hiring a native English speaker, or someone with your qualifications. Business groups on LinkedIn and other networking sites also have local meetings and events where you can meet other Turkish and foreign professionals.
Starting Your Own Business or Working Independently
Work laws in Turkey allow for an entrepreneur to get an independent work permit in Turkey, but this option is for someone who has resided legally in Turkey for at least five years, and intends to start a company which will benefit the Turkish economy.
For freelance working, especially online, the issue seems to involve the legal definition of "working in Turkey." From the legal advice we have received, if you don't get paid in Turkey or cut invoices in Turkey, or if you are not performing tasks for a specific person or company in Turkey for pay, then you are not "working in Turkey." We know of no cases where this legal advice has been tested, and this is solely based on legal opinions, not on legal precedents. So it is best to seek counsel from a Turkish legal professional before engaging in any type of freelance work while in Turkey.
Joining in a Partnership
You may meet a small-business owner in Turkey who asks you to come in as a partner. It is generally a bad idea to enter any business partnership with someone you don't know well in a business you won't control. Especially when your part involves paying money into a Turkish business. Maybe everything will go perfectly, but you will be at a significant disadvantage as opposed to your Turkish partner. And there is a good chance that what your Turkish partner really needs is your money-not your involvement. Once your money is committed, you may be in for a very unpleasant experience.
Turks can be very friendly and charming, more so than you are probably used to. And it is not unusual for a Turk to tell you only positive aspects about their business, while withholding important negative information.
And becoming a partner in a business, or even owning a business does not automatically entitle you to work there. You will still need to get a work permit.
Don't do it. Especially in resort cities and towns, law enforcement officials occasionally enter businesses to see if there is anyone working there illegally. And as soon as a competitor finds out that your employer has hired you illegally, he or she will be likely to report it. If you are in Turkey on a tourist visa, you will likely be deported and forbidden to re-enter Turkey for five years. If you have a residence permit, you will probably receive a hefty fine (and possibly deported), not to mention to the penalties your employer will be facing for hiring you.
An Introduction to Work Permits
Applying for a Work Permit from Outside of Turkey
Applying for a Work Permit from Inside Turkey
Frequently-asked Questions about Work Permits
Working in Turkey Forums
İşkur: This is Turkey's national job bank, which has offices in all provincial capitals. While it is primarily focused on Turkish workers, so being conversant in Turkish would be a requirement. You can search for a job in any province.
Kariyer.net: Turkey job search site.
Jobs in Istanbul: Specifically for native English-speakers.
Yenibiris: A Turkey job search site.
Craig's List Istanbul: Includes employment listings for Istanbul.
Secret CV Turkey: For assistance in finding work in Turkey.
Learn4Good.com Includes job listings.
Career Jet Turkey Career Jet's Turkey jobs.
Marmaris Recruitment: Recruits for many Turkish cities, not just Marmaris.
MY Executive: For middle and upper level management and professional positions in Turkey.
Turkey Talent: find jobs by industry, professions and locations across Turkey including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and beyond.
444 İK Consulting: Job listings and a CV bank for job seekers.
Ministry of Labor and Social Security
Labor Law in Turkey: An excellent source of information for a variety of labor law issues.