Many people ask us if they can and should move to Turkey. Turkey has never been as famous in the international market as it is now. Tourism is at an all-time high, and house sales to foreigners, attracted by low prices and citizenship incentives, constantly break records. Specifically in Istanbul and the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, communities of ex-pats live in Turkey all year round. They enjoy comfortable lifestyles with a unique cosmopolitan atmosphere. Diversity also shines through because more than one nationality co-exists in neighbourhoods. Ex-pats from countries like the USA, Britain, Germany, Russia, and the Netherlands enjoy Turkish hospitality. So, should you move, you follow 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.
Guide on Moving to Turkey
1: Reasons to Move
Money Talks: The most prominent reason to move is the low cost of living. Owning cars and socialising is expensive, but other aspects like no tv licence and low council tax fees enable people to live on low budgets. While some people move here to work, retired ex-pats deposit large amounts of money in high-interest savings accounts that net an average of 10% before tax, so they live without having to touch their net capital. The lucrative exchange rate also benefits those drawing pensions from their home country.
Weather and Climate: Money drives our life choices but combine this with gorgeous weather that in places like Antalya nets an average of 300 annual days of sunshine, and people live in the sun for next to nothing. The thing to know about Turkey is that it has several different climate zones. Additionally, it is not unusual for snow to appear in winter in the northern regions. For this reason, most ex-pats who want the sun move to the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.
Turkish Culture: The Turks welcoming hospitality and ease of settling in win much admiration from foreigners. Many ex-pats don’t speak the Turkish language and still enjoy good lifestyles.
Outdoor Living: One thing that wins admiration, especially with ex-pats from cold countries, is the outdoor lifestyle. Even the winter months see little dreary cold weather. So from Spring to Autumn, everyone heads out to enjoy al fresco style dining, days at the beach and pool and wearing t-shirts and shorts.
2: To Buy Property or Rent in Turkey
This is purely personal but base your decision on your financial situation and future. Ex-pats who want to live in Turkey permanently generally buy property. Occasionally, ex-pats rent the property so that in case they or their partner fall ill, they can return to their home country without the hassle of selling up. If you are considering buying property, see our portfolio of apartments and villas in different areas here. That gives price guidelines, but don’t forget to factor in closing costs, which average 8 to 10%. Alternatively, to view properties, fill in the enquiry form, or call us today.
3: Where to Live in Turkey
Most foreigners living in Turkey choose either Istanbul or the south and west coasts because they offer more westernised lifestyles than the east, and locals speak various foreign languages. Your yearly living budget will help you decide where to move. Popular places include….
Bodrum: Bodrum Peninsula is situated on Turkey’s South West coast, surrounded by 32 islands and islets, forming 170 kilometres of coastline between Güllük and Gökova bays. Bodrum has changed and grown, and each of the Peninsula towns has its centre and hub with restaurants and shops, all of the different characters, with local markets in each of the Peninsula resorts, so there is no need to travel far for your local fruit and veg. Boat trips are popular because of the many islands and bays to explore. Bodrum is one of the three marina towns which hosts super mega yachts.
Istanbul: One of the world’s greatest cities, in Istanbul, different cultures collide and co-exist. It is the world’s sixth largest city, with an estimated population of around 14 million. Istanbul also attracts foreign migrants from Europe, the Middle East and further afield. Expatriates who make Istanbul their home live in a bustling city with an impressive history and easy access to both Eastern and Western worlds.
Alanya: Alanya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, sits arounds two hours’ drive east of Antalya city. Sandwiched between Turkey’s Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains, the historic heart of Alanya, the old quarter, features the impressive 13th Century castle and Red Tower. The eastern side of the Peninsula, immediately beneath the castle, is home to the pretty fortified harbour.
Fethiye: Fethiye is one of Turkey’s well-known tourist centres and a magnet for British citizens. Apart from its climate and natural beauty, Brits love the less expensive lifestyle and local people’s hospitality. The British population in Turkey is between 34,000 and 38,000. Over 7,000 British citizens permanently live in Fethiye property, while approximately 600,000 British tourists visit the town every summer.
Antalya: Modern Antalya promotes historical ruins, long beaches, scenic landscapes, international marinas, European-designed golf courses, large shopping malls, and impressive transport networks. Antalya is Turkey’s fifth-most populous city, the largest city on the Mediterranean coast, and the hub of the Turkish Riviera. One in three tourists to Turkey stay in Antalya, and the city centre is one of the most visited resorts by Turks during summer. Antalya is the gateway to the beautiful vast coastline of the Mediterranean in southern Turkey. This picturesque coast is often called the Turquoise Coast due to its array of inviting clear blue waters
Altinkum and Didim: The town of Altinkum is on Turkey’s Aegean coast, 56 miles northwest of Bodrum. Although relatively small, the resort is fast growing as its popularity increases. The resort front is entirely pedestrianised and is currently repaved in marble, making the walk along the promenade more upmarket. Altinkum is popular with British expats but also Turks during summer.
4: Residency, Citizenship and Healthcare in Turkey
Potential expats must take residency seriously, because the Turkish government doesn’t give leeway on overdue residence permits. If you want to stay for longer than 90 days out of 180, you will need to apply. To work, employers apply for separate permits. Otherwise, retirees must show they can financially support themselves. People under 65 also need healthcare to apply for residency. Many ex-pats here have opted into the government SGK system, while others with no pre-existing conditions have opted for private insurance coverage. Residency and citizenship are two different procedures, but the government does run Turkish citizenship through real estate investment programs.
5: International Schools in Turkey
For primary or upper-secondary education, the massive number of international schools in Turkey provide families relocating to the country with several choices. With remote working now more popular than ever before, international education for all nationalities is key for successful family life abroad. For most schools, curriculums differs because, alongside standard subjects like maths and English, they aim to provide other thinking skills for children, like cultural integration. All the private systems commit towards learning environments so pupils develop lifelong skills. From the early years to those who want to progress academically, public and private education in Turkey ticks all the boxes. More about schooling.
6: Biggest Mistakes When Moving to Turkey
- Turkish red tape and paperwork are horrendous. Be prepared and do your homework
- Manage your finances carefully, mainly when dealing with two currencies or property back home
- Move out of holiday mode to stay healthy and keep your bank balance looking good
- Try and learn at least one word of Turkish daily.
- Use online apps for banking, keeping in touch with friends and family, translation and watching exchange rates.
- Be prepared for culture shock and homesickness. Know both will soon pass.
- Don’t culturally stereotype Turkey; there are several regional identities
- Make friends with Turks as well as foreign ex-pats
- Learn about your new country through travel, history, food, and local sites
Summary of Moving to 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 ex-pats also get frustrated by their ability to learn the language and hence rely on translators on specific occasions when locals do not speak English. Overall, give yourself time to adjust, and take accountability for your emotional well-being. The biggest hurdle among non-working ex-pats is time on their hands. To avoid ending up in the pub every day, now is an excellent time to take up hobbies and pursue additional leisure interests.
Also About Turkey
Best Cities to Live in Turkey: When looking at cities in Turkey, foreigners soon realise there are many metropolises to visit and live in. As the world’s 37th largest country, Turkey comprises 81 official cities. However, some cities in Turkey remain off the grid for foreign tourism and ex-pat circles, while others stand out as the most popular. This article looks at which cities top the list of ideal places if you want to move to Turkey.
About Us: We are Spot Blue International and, since 2003, have specialised in selling property in Turkey. We are an award-winning company often quoted by leading international newspapers and news channels. We pride ourselves on our unbiased and expert knowledge that we pass on to our clients. Alternatively, we have also taken our team’s local knowledge to form our blog that will interest anyone looking to live in Turkey.