CARPINTERIA, Calif. – Carl’s Jr. has opened its first restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey, announced Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. The opening is the first of at least 25 Carl’s Jr. restaurants to be opened in Turkey during the next six years. The restaurants will be operated by FET Restoran Isletmeleri AS.

Carl’s Jr.’s entry into Turkey is part of a strategic plan by CKE Restaurants to accelerate franchise development in international markets and grow the system as a whole. The 25 restaurant development deal is part of a larger development plan that CKE has for the region.

“The strength of our brand matched with the strong management depth and expertise of FET Restoran Isletmeleri A.S. in the QSR sector will secure a bright future for Carl’s Jr. in the Turkish market,” Puzder said. “We believe the Turkish market has tremendous potential for our brand given the strength of its economy, the youthful population base and an appreciation for premium-quality burgers. It is also a gateway for European expansion.”

CKE currently franchises 363 international restaurants between both its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands. It has strategic development plans to double its international presence within the next five years.