Category Archives: Retiring Abroad

15 Great Expat Blogs About Turkey

Here are 15 great blogs to check out if you are curious about living in Turkey, want to try out more Mediterranean Cooking, or are just searching for some travel inspiration:

  1. Turkey’s For Life: Julie and Barry, two UK citizens, share advice, recipes, and plenty of personal adventures on this extensive blog.
  2. Ozlem’s Turkish Table: Photos, easy-to-follow recipes and interesting tales woven together by an award-winning chef who also happens to offer online cooking lessons.
  3. Turkey from the Inside: Pat, a UK-origined former Thomas Cook travel specialist, travel book author and writer for Today’s Zaman takes readers on a whirlwind tour through the culture and history of many different Turkish regions
  4. Back to Bodum: An Aussie expat and her Turkish husband re-adjust to life in the Turkish countryside
  5. Pul Biber – With Everything (Red Pepper with Everything) Two retired UK expats living in Selçuk adjust from their fast-paced London life to soaking up the small town sights, smells and occasional serenity
  6. Adventures in Ankara: A Pennsylvania native and lawyer by profession shares her adventures and observations after moving to Ankara with her Turkish husband. Plenty of travel tips, trip reviews, and a culinary corner as well.
  7. A Seasonal Cook in Turkey: A 30+ year expat resident of Istanbul share’s the years’ best fare with recipes fit for every season.
  8. Slowly By Slowly: “Roadtripping through one Turkish-American marriage with a troupe of backseat-driving Karagöz puppets”
  9. Almost Turkish Recipes: Simple and tasty meals you can make in your own kitchen, regardless of whether you have access to Turkey’s extensive outdoor bazaars.
  10. From the Seven Hills of Istanbul: A Wisconsin native who has lived almost continuously in Turkey since completing her MA in Turkish Studies in 2009 now shares restaurant reviews and travel tips covering Bursa and Istanbul.
  11. Binur’s Turkish Cookbook: Recipes, tantalizing photos.  What more could you want in a simple food blog?
  12. The Turkish Life: A SF native residing in Istanbul and writing about food, running, photography and the environment
  13. Far From the Sticks: An East Coaster residing in Ankara with her Turkish husband shares stories, photos and culinary adventures.
  14. Adana Adventures: Part travel /living guide, part blog written by an American expat living in Adana with his Turkish wife.
  15. Inside Out Istanbul: Lisa Morrow, author of  Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City and Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries shares book reviews, life tales, and plenty of photos.

+ 1 Best of Bursa: An expat family shares their favorite experiences in a city they’ve come to call home.

Looking for More Reading: the Daily Sabah has also collected an “Ultimate list of expat blogs on Turkey” to be found here.

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Filed under Community, Exploring, Family, Recipes, Retiring Abroad, Turkish Cuisine, Turkish Culture

Understanding Visas, Resident Permits and Citizenship for Expats in Turkey

Most travelers and short-term residents in Turkey will opt for getting a visa to cover the remainder of their in country stay. But what if your stay is longer, or you frequently visit the country and don’t want to deal with visa forms each time? What are your options? And which options work for whom?

First, for visas:

Introduction: Unless you are from Europe or South America, you will need a visa to enter Turkey. Tourist visas are issued for 30, 60 or 90 days. If hold a European or South American passport, you should have via-exempt entry for 30, 60 or 90 days. UK citizens are required to obtain a visa prior to entry. Nationals from almost every North American or European country that is not visa-exempt are eligible for multiple-entry 90 day visas. With a 90 day visa you may stay in the country for up to 90 days out of 180 days. For a breakdown of different types of visas, please see this page here.

Who it’s for: Visas are intended for anyone planning to return to their home country after a stay in Turkey; this includes businessmen, one-off or annual vacationers, students, and people visiting friends or relatives.

How to get a Visa: Check visa requirements for your home country. Most likely you can pay for your visa online at evisa.gov.tr. Otherwise, you can pay $10 more and get a stamp visa upon arrival at the airport. Students and employees will need additional paperwork to legally study or work in the country, and that paperwork must be provided by your school or place of employment. More information on visas from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

visa

Residence Permits:

Introduction:Residence Permits are available from the short to long term and can be applied for in-country. Anyone staying in the country for more than 90 consecutive days will need to apply for a residence permit. Overstaying your visa without applying for a residence permit may result in a travel ban for up to several years.

Who it’s for: Residence permits are divided into the following categories: short-term residence permit (6 months), family residence permit, student residence permit, long-term residence permit, humanitarian residence permit, and victim of human trafficking residence permit. For a longer explanation of the different types of permits, please see this simple yet comprehensive UK guide.

Short-term residence permits are generally for tourists and students who wish to stay in Turkey for more than 90 consecutive days whereas long-term residence permits are generally for those who own property and reside in Turkey at least semi-permanently. If you want to be part of the Turkish national health care scheme, you must also apply for a long-term residence permit (see our post on national health insurance here).

How to get a Residence Permit: First, requirements will be different depending on your nationality, your type of residency, and your intended locale. You can make an appointment to discuss options or start your application at any of the 81 Provincial Directorate of Migrant Management Offices at e-ikamet.goc.gov.trYou should apply for your residence permit within 30 days of arrival in Turkey. Find full lists of documents needed for each type of residence permit here.

For a long-term residence permit: You must have 8 years of continuous residency in Turkey, not have received social assistance in the past 3 years, sufficient and stable income to support yourself, valid health insurance for anyone under 65, and pose no threat to national security. More details here.

residence permit

And, finally, Citizenship:

Who it’s for: Generally those eligible for Turkish citizenship include foreign nationals married to Turkish nationals and long-term residents who wish to switch over from their residence permit.

How to Apply for Citizenship: First, contact your local foreign affairs bureau to see if you are eligible. Generally you will have to fulfill the following requirements: residence in Turkey for 5 years with total interruption of less than 6 months, possession of good physical and mental health, demonstration that it is your intention to settle in Turkey, absence of any criminal record, ability to speak Turkish at a basic level, and ability to support yourself with either income or a good job (if not married to a Turkish national). If you meet these conditions, then you can apply to the City Population and Citizenship Directorate (İl Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık Müdürlüğü). Your “sufficient level of Turkish language” degree will be evaluated by the commission during your interview. A specific language degree or test is not required.  More information here.

If you are married to a Turkish national, a different set of requirements apply: You must be married to the Turkish citizen for 3 years, resides with the Turkish partner (exceptions granted if Turkish partner dies after application is lodged), avoids acts that would jeopardise the marriage, and poses no threat to national security and public order.  You can read the full document on Turkish Citizenship Law here.

Some Common Questions:

What if I want to purchase property? It is not required that one hold a residence permit prior to purchasing property in Turkey.  You will however need to obtain a Foreigner Identity number (Yabanci Kimlik No.) from the TNP Foreigners’ Department in the nearest city.  Owning property will not automatically grant you a residence permit either – you will still need to go online and follow the same application steps.

What if I own property, but do not reside in Turkey for more than a month or two at a time? If you are out of the country for more than 120 consecutive days, you may not be eligible for a residence permit, so you should probably just apply for regular tourist visas when you visit. You do not need a residence permit to rent out your property.

If I have a residence permit, am I automatically eligible to work in Turkey? No. You must hold a work visa and apply for the appropriate type of residence permit.  Your employer must provide the paperwork for your work visa.

If I don’t speak Turkish, can I be eligible for citizenship? This depends on how you are acquiring citizenship.  If it is through naturalization or marriage, then generally this is not a requirement.  However, you should check the requirements for your specific case.

If I become a Turkish citizen, can I still retain my original citizenship? This completely depends on the arrangements made between your country and Turkey. For the US and many European countries, the answer is yes. Before making any decisive steps, you should check the situation with your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or embassy in Turkey.

Have more questions?  Read the government’s e-residence booklet here, or check out the MFA’s FAQ section.

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What is the “Mediterranean Diet”?

The past few years popular magazines and science journals alike have been abuzz with articles about a new fad called the “Mediterranean Diet” (If you’ve been out of the loop, see the Mayo clinic or the New York Times: “The Island Where People Forget to Die“, “Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke“, “When Diet Meets Delicious“, “Mediterranean Diet is Good for Your DNA“). But the Mefuterranean is a huge region encompassing a variety of culinary cultures – most of which we don’t often associate with “heart healthy”. So…

IMG_0570What is the Mediterranean Diet?

Simply put, the “Mediterranean Diet” is less a diet, per se, than a lifelong way of eating that emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein and healthy fats. There’s nothing very complicated about the diet: eat lots of foods high in fiber and other nutrients like local vegetables and legumes; consume healthy fats like olives, almonds and olive oil; substitute fruit for other sweets; emphasize low-cholesterol sources of protein like chicken and fish over red meat; avoid additives and preservatives; and enjoy the occasional glass of red wine. For more information delving into specifics, see this post on health.com.

Why Is It Good for Me?

fresh oranges dalyan

A fresh fruit stand on the highway outside Dalyan

The Mediterranean Diet probably isn’t (as some have claimed) a cure-all.  But it does promote overall well-being by providing your body with full nutrients and decreasing your intake of disease-causing foods such as refined sugar and artery-clogging saturated fats. Combined with regular exercise, studies have shown the Mediterranean diet to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease while promoting longer living.  Other studies have shown the Mediterranean diet to lead to a reduced risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease as well as the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. (References here, here, here and here)

Following the Mediterranean Diet in Turkey

Turkish fruit sellers

Village women selling figs and olives outside Didim

When we conjure images of Turkish cuisine, what do we see?  Probably heavy red meats like shish kebabs and doner, plenty of bread, a fair amount of full-fat dairy and tantalizing sweets like baklava and dondurma.  But how a tourist tastes a new country is not necessarily representative of the way most residents eat day-in-and-day-out or the ingredients readily available in the grocery store. Whether stocking up your own kitchen or eating out, nutrient-dense whole foods in Turkey abound. Turkey is full of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as locally sourced, GMO-free products at reasonable prices.  While you can pick up your groceries at the local Carrefoure, most Turks in both town and city do their shopping at the local bazaars.  Many Turkish people tend to eat seasonally, with an emphasis on in-season local produce.  Due to the mild coastal climate and long growing seasons, this translates into consuming a great variety of different foods. Unless you live in a small town in the Anatolian hinterlands, it’s easy to find fresh produce and staples of the Mediterranean diet year-round.  Turkey’s produce is officially GMO-free, and there are a growing number of organic and free-range farms.  Compared to the west, it’s much less expensive to stock your fridge with locally-grown, additive-free fresh food. Here’s what you’ll probably see families eating in Turkey

Turkish breakfast

Part of a typical Turkish breakfast: tea, olives, salad, local honeys and jams, fresh cheese, and eggs on their way!

Breakfast: A typical Turkish breakfast includes a complete spread: jams, cheeses, eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and bread.  Most restaurants will also have omelets and menemen, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and green peppers.

Lunch: A traditional lunch might include a bowl of hearty lentil soup coupled with salad, mezeler (cold vegetable dishes with olive oil), cucumber and tomatoe salad, and crusty bread.  For a little more protein, go for fresh grilled fish or menemen.

Dinner: Dinner is often the day’s biggest meal, shared with friends or family. Dinner will often start with a light soup, followed by salad, mezeler, a starch or grain, and a source of protein. Grains like bulgar and barley, often thought of as ‘health foods’ in the west, are here common fare (see more on grains used in Turkish cooking here).

Dessert and Tea: Every meal and almost every visit in Turkey will be accompanied by a cup of black tea.  If you are visiting someone’s house as a guest, your tea will be accompanied by small dishes of cakes, dried fruits, and nuts.  Instead of sweets after dinner, many Turkish people drink tea and nibble on nuts and dried fruit, or bring out a plate of cut fruit.

Drinks: While raki is the Turkish national drink, there are plenty of vineyards producing local vintages as well. Moderate amounts of red wine are supposed to be good for your heart and overall health.

Going for Healthier Options

Like most countries in the west, Turkey does have a high obesity rate (currently 16.5% for men 29.4% for women).  It’s obvious that being surrounded by an abundance of healthy food doesn’t automatically make one healthier.  So here are a few minor changes you can make to follow a healthy and whole diet in Turkey:

  • Skip the sugar in your tea. The average adult should consume less than 60 grams of sugar in a day.  One sugar cube has 12 grams of sugar.  If you drink as much tea as the average Turk, that’s a lot of extra sugar.  Ask for a slice of lemon instead.
  • Revel in the fresh fish! IMG_1323Fish is an integral part of almost every restaurant’s menu; for those traveling to Istanbul or the Aegean, fresh fish is a must.  Most restaurants have daily dinner specials for 12-25 lira including meze (appetizers), salad, and the catch of the day.  Our favorite fish is çupra (gilt head sea bream) for it’s tender and flavorful white flesh. Eat with a side salad and a slice of lemon to bring out the fish’s full flavors.
  • Go for low fat or fat-free dairy. Dairy forms a central staple of Turkish cuisine – spreads of soft and hard cheese at breakfast, salty ayran, handchurned yogurt, and the sweet cream kaymak.  Thankfully, most dairy products are also available in reduced fat or no-fat form.  Look for the pink cups of ayran, or dairy labels that read yarım yağlı (half fat), az yağlı (low-fat) or yağsız (fat free).
  • Pass on the Kofte and Adana Kebabs.  These are high in fatty meat and kofte are cooked in oil.  If you’re hankering after red meat, go for Simit kebab (cooked with bulgar), Şiş kebab with vegetables,  Buğu kebabı or Testi kebab. 
  • Switch out the white bread.  Most Turkish bakeries have options with higher fiber, like whole wheat (tam buğday ekmek) and cracked wheat/whole meal (kepekli ekmek).
  • Ask for servis.  This means your fish or kofte will come on a plate with salad, instead of sandwiched in half a loaf of bread.  At more causal joints you may have to pay an extra lira for servis 
  • Go for almonds and fresh and dried fruit at tea. We know those sweets piled on trays at tea look tempting; reach instead for something more sustaining, like almonds, dried apricots and dates.
  • Quench your thirst with fresh juice instead of coke. Fresh fruit stands abound in
    Juice in ankara

    A juice stand in downtown Ankara

    both metropolises and up and down the coasts (and at every town in between) Even in the dead of winter downtown Ankara has dozens of stalls making fresh pressed carrot, orange, grapefruit and pomegranate juice for as little as 1.5 lira a cup. Most malls have fresh fruit juice stands as well.  If you like the strong flavor, şalgam, a salty beet-red drink made from fermented purple carrots, turnip and bulgar, is a refreshing alternative to soft drinks.  If you over-indulge in raki, you may find a glass of şalgam being imposed upon you as a [supposed] cure for hangovers.

Little Bazaars; Fresh Produce

First, take a virtual walk through two of Turkey’s outdoor bazaars with this beatifully crafted and illustrated traveler’s post: Refueling at Fethiye Markets.  Check out these bazaars over the summer for some fresh, locally-grown and low-priced produce:

Bodrum: The food bazaar is held in a different location every day of the week; Thursday is market day in Yalikova; Friday the food market is held in the Bodrum Market (pazar); if you want a trip back in time, Monday is  market day at the little town of Guvercinlik, 20 km north of Bodrum. See here for a full schedule. IMG_0940

Didim/Altinkum: If you have a car, head out to Akkoy and scoop up produce sold by the roadside straight from the fields.  Figs, olives, and preserves are all produced locally and sold at rock-bottom prices.  The Saturday Market has produce (along with everything else from clothing to household items).  If you want to get away from the summer tourists, you can also drive to Söke for an authentic bazaar experience. 

Fethiye: Farmer’s markets take place in different locations on different days; Tuesdays and Fridays are in the town center. Turkey’s for Life has a great bunch of posts about the Friday Market, Patlangıç Market, Çalış Market, and more. Interested in learning more about the push to put local produce on hotel tables?  Read about the Taste of Fethiye project here!  Taste of Fethiye also prints a Fethiye Village Driving Route to take you and your taste buds on a self-guided local culinary tour (PDF: Turkey_driving_route_booklet_opt).

Want fresh fish? Head to the Fethiye Fresh Fish Market.  This Fethiye Times post includes market information as well as English-Turkish names for dozens of varieties of local seafood.

Kusadasi: Find the bazaar on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. Tuesday markets are located on the street by the cemetery; Wednesday and Friday markets are on the same street, but opposite the main dolmus (minibus) stop at the city center. Food is fresh from the sea and the farms.

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Typical Costs to Build Your Budget for a Summer in Turkey

We can’t give you a definitive budget – everyone’s travel styles and daily habits are different – but we do hope the following list and resources will help you craft a reasonable budget for your stay in Turkey.

my blue cruise guletWhen creating your budget, ask yourself what type of traveler/tourist/seasonal resident/retiree/expat you are: do you enjoy laying on the beach? Seeing all the sights? Sampling local foods at small cafes or going out to big dinners? Staying at posh resorts, renting a flat, or even camping? Do you plan to drive or fly, or are you fine with taking the train and long-distance bus? What does your nightlife look like?  All of these factors will play a great part in how you should set our budget.  Some students travel through Turkey on a few hundred Euros a month; others spend that much on a half-week gulet tour. Some retirees live off their government pensions with ease; others choose to live off the same budget they would use in the US or UK, only allowing themselves more comforts and luxuries than that income would allow in their home country.

Prices below are all for the area surrounding the popular resort town of Didim, for the summer season. Other areas along the Turkish Riviera may be more or less expensive.

villa konak hotel kusadasiAccommodation 

Unless you own property, you have three main choices in Turkey: stay in a hotel, stay in a pansion (pension), or rent an apartment.  Prices vary depending on season and locality; for single people and couples, it is often cheapest to stay in a pansion with half board (breakfast and dinner provided) at 30-50 lira/day person; for families, the most economic choice is often renting an apartment by the week or month at 150-300 Euro/week in summer, or 500+ lira/month year round.

  • Typical monthly rent for a decent/average 2 BR flat: 600 TL
  • Weekly Rent in Summer:  150-700 USD (1 bedroom flat-villa)
  • Monthly Electricity Bill (Summer): 100 TL for a family of 5
  • Monthly Water Bill (Summer): 50 TL for a family of 5
  • Monthly Phone Bill: 90 TL (full plan); 20 TL (texting, calls and minimal internet use)
  • Monthly Internet Bill: 60 TL

Turkish kofte with sauceFood and Dining Out

  • Weekly Groceries: 200 TL  for a family of 5
  • Full Breakfast Out: 8-15 TL/person
  • Pastry and Tea: 4 TL
  • Lunch Out: 12-30 TL
  • Sandwich or Toast: 6-10 TL
  • Dinner: 15-30 TL; Many restaurants have 20-25 lira specials with fresh fish and sides
  • Drinks at the grocery store: 1 TL water, 5 TL beer
  • Drinks in a restaurant: 8-15 TL for beer; 10-20 TL for a glass of wine


kusadasi street sceneTypical Expenses:

  • Bus or Subway Ticket: 1-2 TL
  • Taxi around town: 10-20 TL
  •  Shuttle or Taxi to Airport? 40-50 Euro
  • Fake designer sunglasses: 5-10 TL
  • Casual canvas shoes: 20-50 TL

Travel, Entertainment and Sight-Seeing

my blue cruise guletUnusual Expenses and Other Notes

Three things are generally more expensive in Turkey than might be expected: gas, alcohol, and international brand names – all due to high taxes.

Gas is generally 4-5 TL/Litre, making it more expensive than many European countries.  For this reason, the budget-savy traveler will often choose to travel between cities by coach bus and locally by dolmus (public minibus).  Coachbuses are comfortable and often cost around 10 TL/hour on the road (i.e. the Ankara-Istanbul route takes 4-5 hours and bus seats are 50 TL). When debating between flying and taking the bus between towns, keep in mind that bus stations are often located near the center of town and near other forms of public transportation, like the subway or city buses.  For getting the best deals when flying in and out of Turkey, see our guide on finding the lowest-priced airfare hereturkish gozleme

Alcohol can also be a considerable expense in Turkey.  Grocery store beer prices are around 4-6 TL/bottle.  Casual bars around student-friendly locales like Olympos will generally sell beer for 7-12 TL/bottle, but beer and other alcoholic beverages at urban bars and at tourist spots can run upwards of 20 lira/drink.

You will also find that, due to import taxes, international brand items (such as bags, shoes, sunglasses and clothes) will be more expensive in Turkey.  If there is something specific you need, bring it with you (see our Summer Packing List for Women here).  But, no worries – you can also find high-quality items made in Turkey for a fraction of the price, and unbeatably-priced ‘genuine fakes’ of everything from watches to jeans to purses to crocs.

ephesus stadiumWorried about any specific expenses?  Check out the full statistics on Cost of Living at Numbeo here, or send us a message.

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Renting Out Your Seaside Home

While Turkey is growing in popularity as a warm-weather warm-culture retirement destination, it’s also an incredibly popular vacation locale.  And if you happen to own an apartment or home by the sea, in a major city, or in any other unique location, you have the option or ‘letting out’ your home while away.  This is a great option for those who vacation in Turkey at a favorite locale and don’t want the trouble of booking hotels, or overseas retirees who wish to spend large chunks of the year either in their home country with family or traveling around Europe.  In short, if you are considering purchasing property, but don’t plan to spend all your time in Turkey, this is a viable path. 

Show Me The Money How much your apartment brings in depends on a great number of things: Where is it located? How many rooms does it have? Is it new or old? Is it a unique property? Is it located in an area with high demand for accommodation during peak seasons? Is there a pool? What amenities will you include? Will you rent by the day or by the week?

In past years typical incomes for a modern and pleasantly furnished two bedroom flat in a resort town by the sea (like Didim) have hovered around 60€/day and 300/week.   3BR villas around Fethiye run around $500/week.  Stone villas by Ephesus can run upwards of $1000/wk.  Again, the price all depends on the factors above.

Some retirees we’ve come across rent out their property during peak season in summer and then are able to live off that rental income for the remainder of the year.  Other people rent out for just a few weeks a year and use the income to pay for home maintenance, or put towards their own travel expenses.

Why Would I Want to Do This? Letting out your property while you’re away is actually quite common in Turkey (and many parts of Europe).  There are accepted norms of behavior from tenants as well as expectations for property owners.  The extra income will allow you to do…whatever you want.  Travel in Greece.  Take a gulet trip.  Stay with family in the states over the school holidays.  Explore the rest of Europe. Cover your winter budget.

Other Options: Rent Out a Room:If you don’t feel comfortable handing your house over to strangers, or you prefer to reside in Turkey year-round, another option is letting out a spare room through sites like Air BnB.  Both you and the potential renter set up profiles so you can screen every applicant, and you are able to choose how much of your house you want to share.  This is also an interesting option for people who have a spare bedroom and love having company.

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Property of the Week: Akbük Residences

244Akbuk Residences: 2&3 BDR 1BA Modern Hilltop Apartments for €105.000-120.000 

This week we have another featured property in Akbuk, a smaller community benefiting from beautiful public beaches and easy access to major urban centers.

This complex is set atop the hills above Akbuk.  Enjoy soft summer breezes and sweeping views of the bay; watch dusk slowly lap across the waves from your sea-side terrace.  This is the perfect location for people who love being near town, but wish to be a little removed from the noise and bustle, who appreciate waking up to stunning views and love spending time out on their balconies, whether sunning and soaking up a book in the afternoon or having friends over for a full Turkish barbecue as the summer evening drips to an end.

All modern amenities and full on-site facilities ensure you’ll be in want of nothing.  The site features a restaurant, convenience store, full and children pools, open terrace, and fitness center for those days you’d rather relax near home, and a free shuttle bus service to help you reach the beaches and downtown with ease.  The complex consists of 4 blocks with 9 apartments each – small enough to be a real communities with neighbors you trust and know, large enough that someone is always around, even in the winter months.

The Basics: Two and three bedroom duplexes (two-story flats) available; open-plan living room and kitchen opening directly onto a balcony through sliding glass doors; high-quality construction materials with first-class interior finish; all modern fixtures; 24 hr security with CCTV; swimming pool and children’s pool; lounge terrace and public space with seaside views; on-site fitness center, restaurant, and shop; free community shuttle bus to town and the beach; in the neighborhood of  Akbük, ten minutes from downtown Didim and 45 minutes from the Bodrum Airport.

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A Veteran’s Take on Retirement in Turkey

Below is a selection from very thorough and measured assessment of retiring in Turkey written by Colin Guest, a British man who has lived in the country for over two decades.  You can read the full (rather lengthy) in Retirement and Good Living.  Even though this is a fairly recent review, several Turkish laws that he mentioned have since changed – make sure to check the most recent health insurance, residence permit and property purchasing laws before making any plans!

The article is quite extensive, so here’s the summary of his thoughts:

In general, I think Turkey is a good place to retire. What with beautiful weather, and living costs being quite reasonable, one can enjoy a relaxing and healthy lifestyle here. Also, Turkish people are well known for being very hospitable and friendly. If you happen to have a problem, there is usually someone who will help you out. It is also quite safe to walk around here. As for crime, apart from once catching someone trying to pick my pocket, I have never had any problems whilst living here.

Retirement in Turkey

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 Colin Guest

Retire in TurkeyAs a retired Englishman, one who has lived in Turkey for over 25 years, I have no hesitation in recommending it as a place to retire. Down on the Mediterranean Coast, where I lived until getting remarried in 2012, there is an average of 300+ days of sunshine a year. This compared to living in the UK where sunshine is at a premium, is reason alone to retire here. However, I must point out that normally, during July and August, the temperatures can be very high. At these times, it is advisable to think about taking a holiday to somewhere cooler.

As for buying or renting property here, costs I think are quite reasonable compared to some other countries. As an example, one can rent a good-sized 3-bedroom apartment in the city of Antalya for around £280 ($456) per month. Smaller apartments are of course much cheaper. These prices, however, can vary considerably; depending on which area you choose to live. In Istanbul for instance, housing costs are far higher than in other areas of Turkey. Buying property here is very easy. Although you do not require using an Avukat (lawyer) to buy a property, I highly recommend you use one. Just think for a minute, would you buy a property in England (or the US) without using a solicitor. The answer is a definite NO! Therefore, before buying a property, use an Avukat. If possible, use one who is recommended by someone you know who purchased a property.

One thing to be aware of about buying property here is the inheritance law. This unlike in the UK is somewhat different. In the event of your death, if you have children, they are automatically entitled to a share of any property that is in your name….Retire in Turkey

Medical care here in Turkey is very good. In fact, patients come to Turkey to have operations, unlike in the UK; there are no waiting lists here. Also, costs for operations are quite reasonable compared to the UK. I have had two operations here, and was well satisfied with both the operations and aftercare received. There are many first class hospitals in Turkey, fitted with the latest technology and staffed by English speaking doctors. SGK….  is a Turkish health organization, which you can join as long as you do not receive a pension from England. The monthly costs for this is around 285 TL (£81, $132). As a member of SGK you are entitled to receive free health care in Government hospitals, as well as obtaining prescription medicines at greatly reduced costs…

Transport here is both cheap and efficient, with most buses air-conditioned. As an example of costs, a ticket from the city of Antalya to Kemer, a distance of approximately 50km, is around £2 ($3.25). Apart from buses, Antalya has a metro system, which is inexpensive to use. In Istanbul, one has a wide range of available transportation. There are buses, metro lines and ferries. You can also use a Dolmus, which are basically mini buses that carry around 10 persons. These are both a cheap and efficient way of getting around to various places. All taxis here are fitted with meters….

There are many new shopping centers throughout the country. You can now buy most things except pork, which is only available in a few places. When shopping outside of the major shopping centers, you can try to barter down the cost. In many places this is expected, especially in tourist areas and open markets. Some of the best buys in Turkey include gold & silver jewelry, which is of excellent quality and design. Leather is also of high quality and of the latest fashion. Turkish carpets are known worldwide for being of high quality. However, when buying one, you should always barter down the cost.

There are many water sports available if you decide to live on the Mediterranean or Aegean Coast. There are also many excellent marinas, both in the large cities and hidden away in numerous well sheltered bays. For the golfer, there are over 12 top quality golf courses in Belek designed by a world known professional golfers. This is approximately a 30 minutes’ drive East down the coast from Antalya International airport. There is also a course in Bodrum, with three courses in Istanbul. Films are available in English, in most cinemas throughout Turkey. By using a satellite TV system, you are able to view English films and several International News channels.

Retire in TurkeyIf you are over 65, and want to get married to a Turkish person, the process is quite involved and requires various forms and signatures.

A word of warning. If you are thinking of working here, you must have a work permit. If you are caught working without one, you will be deported. Also, never go into business without first consulting an Avukat (lawyer). I myself have not had a problem re this, although my late wife and some friends lost money by not consulting an Avukat, before parting with their money.

In general, I think Turkey is a good place to retire. What with beautiful weather, and living costs being quite reasonable, one can enjoy a relaxing and healthy lifestyle here. Also, Turkish people are well known for being very hospitable and friendly. If you happen to have a problem, there is usually someone who will help you out. It is also quite safe to walk around here. As for crime, apart from once catching someone trying to pick my pocket, I have never had any problems whilst living here.

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