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Moving to Turkey

Your guide to expat life in Turkey. A bridge between East and West

Want to move to Turkey?

Straddling the continents of Asia and Europe, and located between the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Seas, Turkey is a modern country that’s rich in heritage and tradition – so you’ll find wonderful contradictions are part of daily life. Turkey oozes expat appeal, particularly for businesspeople looking to take advantage of its growing economy.

With sunny skies and a low cost of living, the country is also an ideal retirement destination. And its culture lives up to the cliché ‘something for everyone’ with a fascinating blend of Eastern and Western traditions.

Getting used to some of the cultural nuances can take time, and you may have the language barrier to overcome. You might also find the conservative attitude of some Turks frustrating. Despite these challenges, expats can adapt fairly quickly to their new home – no doubt helped by the delicious Turkish cuisine, warm weather and friendly locals.

Basic info about Turkey

  • Population: About 85 million

  • Capital city: Ankara

  • Largest city: Istanbul

  • Main languages: Turkish is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in the main cities and tourist areas

  • Main religion: Islam. Other religions include Christianity and Judaism

  • Political system: Parliamentary republic

  • Time: GMT+2. Clocks move forward an hour in March and back an hour in October

  • Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. European style plugs with two round pins are used

  • Currency: Turkish lira (TRY)

  • International dialling code: +90

  • Internet domain: .tr

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

  • Road traffic: Drives on the right

Weather in Turkey

Covering a vast area, Turkey’s climate is varied. On the coast, it’s usually warm in summer while winters are wet and chilly.

Istanbul is warm, humid and often windy all year round with summer temperatures averaging 28°C (82°F) from June to September. High-lying Ankara has a continental climate of extremes with warm summers and snowy winters.

Key phrases

  • Hello Merhaba
  • Good evening İyi akşamlar
  • Goodbye Hoşçakal
  • How are you? Nasılsın?
  • Thank you Teşekkür ederim
  • Yes Evet
  • No Hayır
  • Do you speak English? İngilizce konuşur musunuz?
  • Can you help me? Yardım edebilir misiniz?
  • Sorry Özür dilerim

Shipping to Turkey

Because most rental properties in Turkey are unfurnished, you may decide to ship some goods from home. Whether you send a shipment by air, sea or land, it’s worth getting adequate insurance. Small shipments can be sent by air, but it’s cheaper to ship a large volume of goods by sea. If you’re moving from the UK or somewhere in mainland Europe, transporting goods by road could be the cheapest option.

Household goods

You can import household goods and personal belongings duty free if you’ve owned them for at least 6 months. You’ll need to provide a copy of your passport, along with your Turkish residence permit and an inventory – and your shipment must arrive no later than 6 months after you.

Pets

There’s no quarantine for healthy pets with up-to-date vaccination records that include rabies. Animals must also be microchipped and have a health certificate signed by a vet from your home country.

Top tips for Turkey

See what people responding to our Expat Explorer Survey think about living in Turkey.

Be brave enough to learn and live the culture; I promise that you will leave with a sense of gratitude and humility for a country that adopted you as one of it's own, wherever in the world you go.
Make sure that you see the 'real' Turkey, not just the holiday side. Stay in a residential area, and talk to the locals - both Turkish and expats alike.
Take a look at the differences between voltage/household items to avoid bringing equipment you cannot use. A good relocation company is a MUST.
If you are living in Istanbul, don't buy a car. It's expensive, complicated and it's easier to move around the city by public transport or taxi.
If you are a foodie, make friends at your neighborhood pazar, market and butcher. Their customer service is outstanding once they know you.

Added by expat in Instanbul

All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by expatarrivals.com, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in September 2021. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

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