Situated on the Anatolian Peninsula, Turkey straddles both Europe and Asia. Expat will discover that, while the country consists of rollings hills, an elevated central plateau and high Rocky Mountains, it is also surrounded by water on three sides. With access to the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, Turkey is blessed with gorgeous coastlines. 

Expats relocating to Turkey will discover wonderful contradictions are part of a daily life that flawlessly marries the ancient and the modern, and where Europe and Asia meet across the Bosphorus.

Living in Turkey as an expat

Due to the country's strict employment laws, it can be difficult for foreigners to secure a job. Despite this, most new arrivals either find employment in finance, tourism or teaching English within the Turkish schooling system. 

Those moving to Turkey should ensure they have all the relevant paperwork in place. Visitors are now only able to stay in Turkey for a total of 90 days in any period of 180 days, and visas need to be applied for before entering the country. Those wishing to reside in Turkey long term need to obtain a relevant residence or work permit.

The country’s healthcare system as a whole may not be up to the standards that many Westerners are used to, but top notch private healthcare facilities can be found in the major cities of Ankara and Istanbul. Many doctors in these facilities will be able to speak English.

Cost of living in Turkey

Expats will find the cost of living in Turkey more reasonable than in neighbouring European countries. Everyday expenses are extremely affordable in Turkey, although imported goods and petrol tend to be a lot more expensive than places such as the UK and US. Although accommodation is comparably cheap in Turkey, expats will find this to be their biggest expense. Even private healthcare won't break the bank. 

Those expats with foreign purchasing power will be able to make their money last longer and reach further, even if choosing to live in the popular expat areas or coastal resort towns.

Expat families and children

Although public schooling is free for all residents, the majority of expats send their children to international schools in the country. Majority of these schools can be found in Ankara and Istanbul. While these schools teach international curricula in international languages, expats wanting to send their children to these schools should be prepared to pay extraordinarily high fees.

Alternatively, those who have young children and who plan on staying in Turkey permanently should consider a local Turkish school. This will help the children to pick up the language quickly, assimilate into the culture and make local friends. 

Climate in Turkey

Turkey is a large country with huge variability in climate. Along Turkey's coastlines, expats will find that the weather is influenced by the adjacent sea. While the Mediterranean Sea produces its famed hot summers and mild winters, the areas close to the Black Sea have cooler summers and less extreme ranges in temperature. Weather in Turkey's interior features an even greater contrast, with hot summers and cold winters.

Although Turkey's most popular city and the centre where most expats are based is Istanbul, there is much more to the country than just one city. Turkey has a wide range of landscapes and sights that will readily appeal to history buffs, nightclub fanatics, archaeology nuts, sun worshippers, city lovers and shopping addicts. Expats wanting to dip their toes in the rich culture and vibrant lifestyle of the beautiful country will discover just how much Turkey has to offer. 


Fast facts

Official name: Republic of Turkey

Population: About 85 million

Capital city: Ankara

Other major cities: Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, Bursa

Neighbouring countries: Turkey is bordered by Bulgaria and Greece to the west, Georgia and Armenia to the northeast, Iran to the east and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. Cyprus sits just off of Turkey's southern coast.

Political system: Presidential republic

Major religions: Islam is the dominant religion with more than 90 percent of the population practising the faith. 

Main languages: Turkish is the official language, but some English is often spoken and widely understood in the main cities and tourist areas.

Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug is standard.

Money: The Turkish Lira (TRY) is divided into 100 kuruş. To open a bank account in Turkey, most banks require proof of address, a passport and a Turkish tax number.

Internet domain: .tr

International dialling code: +90

Emergency numbers: 155 (police), 112 (ambulance), 110 (fire)

Transport and driving: Cars in Turkey drive on the right side of the road. Major cities have adequate public transport, but a car may be necessary if living in more remote areas.

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