Should You Move to Turkey? Guide to Planning this Lifestyle Change

Considering this country’s high profile, it is no surprise that many people wonder if they can and should move to Turkey. In the international market, Turkey has never been as famous as it is now. Tourism is at an all-time high, and house sale to foreigners, attracted by low prices and citizenship incentives, are breaking records.

Across the country but in Istanbul and the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, large communities of expats have already moved and live in Turkey all year round. They enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with a unique cosmopolitan atmosphere. Diversity is also a strong lure because more than one nationality co-exist in neighbourhoods.

Many expats from countries like the USA, Britain, Germany, Russia, and the Netherlands enjoy Turkish hospitality. So, should you move, you are following in the footsteps of thousands of people who have already done it, and in this article, we look at critical questions to ask yourself and how to go about it.

Move to Turkey: Reasons People Do It

The biggest reason is the low cost of living. While running a car or socialising many times a week can be expensive, other aspects like no tv licence and low council tax fees enable people to live on a budget. While some people move here to work, many retired expats deposit large amounts of money in high-interest savings accounts that net an average of 10% before tax, so live without having to touch their net capital.

For those drawing a pension from their home country, the lucrative exchange rate also benefits them. Money is a driving factor but combine this with gorgeous weather that in places like Antalya nets an average of 300 annual days of sunshine, and people are living in the sun for next to nothing. Other aspects in Turkey’s favour are Turkish hospitality, healthy eating trends, an outdoor lifestyle, and stunning landscape views stretching from east to west.

Planning Tips for Making the Move

Where to Live: Most foreigners living in Turkey choose either Istanbul or the south and west coasts because they offer a more westernised lifestyle than the east, and locals speak a variety of foreign languages. Your yearly living budget will help you decide where to move.

Istanbul, Turkey’s most expensive city has higher rents and living costs than places like Didim on the Aegean coast where some expats who own property and have no rent, live on about £600 a month and have a comfortable lifestyle. Aside from Didim, other famous places, for retired expats, include Fethiye and the Antalya region, the second most popular place for foreign house sales in Turkey.

move to Turkey

Buy or Rent: Rent in places like Istanbul can be as high as 5000 Turkish lira for one month, while in Didim, average about 1000 Turkish lira. For anyone looking to become a Turkish property owner, now is an excellent time to buy, thanks to the exchange rate between the lira and other world currencies.

Turkey’s varied real estate portfolio also ranges from £50,000 at the bottom end of the market for a two-bedroom apartment heading up to six digits for luxury, large mansions with beachfront access. There are pros and cons for both, so this is something you should weight up before deciding.

Residency and Healthcare: One aspect with no leeway is residency. You must apply to stay here for more than 90 days out of 180. To work, your employer will need to apply for a separate permit. Otherwise, retirees will need to show they can financially support themselves. People under 65 also need healthcare to apply for residency. Many expats living here, have opted into the government SGK system, while others with no pre-existing conditions have opted for private insurance cover.

What is it Like Living in Turkey?

Every lifestyle decision has pros and cons. Unsettling factors can be the culture change, which is not so clear when just on holiday. Some expats also get frustrated by their ability to learn the language hence rely on translators on certain occasions, where locals do not speak English.

Overall, give yourself time to adjust, and take accountability for your emotional well-being, to have any lifestyle you want. By far, the biggest hurdle we have seen among non-working expats is a sudden abundance of time on their hands. To avoid the scenario of ending up in the pub every day now is an excellent time to take up a hobby and pursue additional leisure interests.

Further Reading

Where to Retire: For people planning to move to Turkey, our article about popular places where foreigners live will be of use. We look at the regions and reasons why they stand out, including beaches, shopping, nightlife and living costs.

Turkish Property: For those who want to buy a home for a year-round residence, our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale includes hundreds of listings on the market. Each one includes photos, location information, property description and contact details to find out more or arrange a time and date for viewing.