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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Health Insurance Option for Expats in Turky

While most vacationers and short-term expats will keep their home country health insurance, or go for travel health insurance (a good explanation of those choices here, an overview of travel medical insurance here, and reviews of travel insurance providers here), longer-term expats can choose to either keep their home/international provider, or switch over to SGK, the Turkish National Health Insurance.  If you decide to switch over, the later is usually far less expensive and makes hospital visits a breeze.

 

What is SGK?

According to the Turkish Constitution, “Every individual is entitled to social security. The State takes the necessary measures to create this confidence and organizes the organization”. What this means today is that the Ministry of Health provides health care, organizes preventive health services, operates state hospitals, supervises private hospitals, and regulates the production and prices of pharmaceutical drugs nationwide.  Every Turkish citizen is entitled to national health coverage – as is almost every foreign resident in the country. To receive a residence permit, you are also required to sign up for medical insurance, either state or otherwise.

SGK (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, Social Security Institution) is state-provided health insurance for the entire family including children up to the age of 18 and, depending on the circumstances, possibly other dependents.  The family-based fee is around $100 per month.*  Once you enroll in SGK, you must keep the insurance for as long as you keep your residency in Turkey.  For a longer explanation aimed at UK citizens, please see this post. SGK website here. Continue reading

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Holiday Rentals in the Center of Didim

Looking to try before you buy?  This likable 2 bedroom 1 bath flat is both moderate and pleasing with its simple, airy design.

The flat is located on Central Ata Turk Blvd in Didim, just across from Migros Supermarket and within walking distance to the main boardwalk and public beach.  Located on the fourth floor, the modern flat is removed enough from the main stretch of street cafes to offer some quiet and tranquility, and yet everything you might need – banks, bars, a bounty of local restaurants, small shops and supermarkets – is easily at hand.

The building was constructed eight years’ ago and has the benefits of fully fitted security and facilities (including an elevator and AC). The apartment itself was outfitted with cool ceramic floors and light woodwork lending the residence a sense of spaciousness and serenity.   Furnishings are modern, but simple, and won’t suffer under sandy feet.  One bedroom holds two wrought iron twin beds, the other a double.

Step outside to your private balcony, or enjoy the gated pool.  Your neighbors are a quiet and friendly mix of foreign retirees, recurrent annual vacationers, and local residents.

Take one of the local buses from just across the street, take a leisurely walk to the Temple of Apollo, or head to the nearby Didim Bus Station for a longer day (or weekend!) journey to Kusadasi, Bodrum, or Izmir.  The closest airport is at Bodrum, with easily arranged pickup and transfers.

For more information on Didim, see here.

The flat is for rent for 160 TL/day ($61).  For booking or more information, please contact Onur Arik at info@milanestateagents.com.

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Beat the Heat: Kabak Koy

0139f6284770bcf33043df0b697cf36542a63c86bcBeat the heat (and the summer crowds) with a short jaunt to Kabak Koy.

Literally named “Pumpkin Cove”, this secluded beach-front valley is just forty-five minutes from downtown Fethiye.  Drive southeast of town and head over the hills, passing street-covering streams, cliff-hanging village houses and bickering bunches of goats to reach a cove you would never guess could be so close to Fethiye’s commercial resorts and crowded summer streets.  Park your car in the small village atop the cliffs and take a jeep-minibus down deep-rutted dirt roads to the cove below.

reflections camp kababk koy

Outdoor Seating at Reflections Camp

Local zoning laws and the long winding roads (which offer breathtaking views of Fethiye and the surrounding shores) ensure that, while Kabak Koy is no longer quite so hidden, the summer crowds are still minimal and residential development near non-existent.  Join university student hippies hiking across the forests between bays, seclusion-seekers, nature-lovers and a few vacationing families in relaxing for the weekend.  Splurge and indulge in a bungalow at Sea Valley Bungalows, or even bring your own tent and sleep on the beach.  Stay closer the nature with a rugged wooden bungalow at Natural Life, sleep half-outside in a purple-painted tent and relax on shaded cushions in a sculpture-filled garden in Reflections Camp or Kabak Valley Camp encompassed in colorful murals a few hundred yards back from the beach, perch yourselves up on the cliffs at Shambala, PureLife Village or Olive Garden.

Sunset at Kabak Koy

Sunset from Sea Valley Bungalow’s Infinity Pool

While the beach is superb, with aquamarine waters protected by the cove and shaded sands, the area is also connected to Butterfly Valley and other sites by a net of hiking trails along the Lycian way. If you’re feeling tight from your travels, at least once a year the area holds a yoga festival (video here, article here).  Or you could just lie back and enjoy a book.

Practicalities

How to get there:  Go south-east on the coastline road out of Fethiye, climbing up and over the hills by either private car or Fethiye-Kabak minibus. Park where the road ends at the small village atop the cliffs.  By the general store there should either be a waiting minivan or people waiting for the next minivan to bring them down to the cove.  Transport is 5-10 lira/person.

Prices: There is a small store by the cove and most guesthouses have restaurants.  Food prices are about 20-30% more than in Fethiye, due to difficulty of transportation.  Nightly accommodation prices range from 60 TL for a 2-3 person tent to 300+ lira for a deluxe bungalow.

Bring: Sunblock, a swimming suit, beach clothes, a good book and a bottle of wine.

The blogging couple at Turkey’s for Life make a yearly birthday jaunt to Kabak from their home in Fethiye.  For more great recommendations, reflections and travel inspiration, check out these posts on their page:

One Night in Kabak: It’s Not Enough

Falling for Kabak

To Kabak: What Goes Up Must Come Down

OluDeniz to Kabak in Photos

Chakra Beach at Kabak Koy – Stay in a yurt!

Glorious Summer Feasts at The Olive Garden

A Day at the Olive Garden

Staying at Sultan Camp

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Property of the Week: Affordable Flats at Aqua Marine Site

52BR 1BA 80m2 apartments in a medium-sized gated complex with several pools; 35,000 GBP (~$54,700)

Overview: This complex of eight buildings in Didim’s Efeler neighborhood offers relaxed, modern accommodation for vacationing families or year-round retirees.  Each apartment is decorated in light wood and simple cream tones and comes equipped with all the basics, including kitchen appliances and AC.  Emphasis in design is on light and spaciousness to counterbalance the summer heat.  Relax on your balcony, or come down to the shaded public patio by one of the site’s pools.  On site is also 24 hr security and a poolside bar.  The site is slightly north of central Didim, located close to both public transport to take you to the beach and several markets and restaurants.

What’s Special About This Property: Enjoy living in a neighborhood slightly removed from the boardwalk bustle but still close enough to city center that everything is accessible.

This Property is Perfect For:

  • Couples with kids; your children will enjoy the sites several pools and playing on the patio; the site is also small enough that you will know your neighbors and won’t have to worry every second your children are out of site.
  • Retirees who value quiet in their home, but also desire to be part of a more close knit community
  • An investor looking for a rental property with stable returns.

For more information:

See the original listing on our Turkish language site here.

Contact us at info@milanestateagents.com

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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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Just Enough Turkish to Get By

You don’t want to be the obnoxious American abroad. We all know the stereotype: it’s that person speaking loud, slow English in bewildered disbelief at locals’ confusion or stumbling speech.   But nor may you want to pour hours – even months and years – to studying a language that you may use for only a short time.  Some people come to Turkey, fall in love with the culture, and immerse themselves in the language.  Others come for the sun, or just for a summer holiday, and don’t want to learn an entire new language just to get by.  So for those of you who want to communicate basic needs without throwing yourself into study,  we’ve compiled a list of resources that will give you just enough language to get by in a relatively short amount of time – say, 15 minutes a day for 2 months leading up to your stay.  We promise you – your experience will be much more enjoyable.

If you are interested in immersing yourself in Turkish, see our full list of resources here: Great Resources for Learning Turkish

If you just want to learn the basics, here are a few tips and resources:

Tips

First: Relax! Turks are very patient and welcoming people.  If you try to speak Turkish, they will appreciate it, and will take the time and effort to try to understand you.

Second: Many people in popular vacation spots do speak decent English.  It’s only when you wander off the main path that you may find yourself surrounded by non-English speakers.  However, even in remote Anatolian towns English is a compulsory subject. Oftentimes students can understand more than they can say, and may be able to write more than they can speak.  If you are truly lost, try to find a high school or university student and communicate by writing in English.

Third: Use your phrasebook! Before you go, highlight phrases you think will be useful and mark the pages.  If you are having trouble communicating, just open the phrase book and point to the word or sentence you want.  Whoever you are trying to talk to will probably even teach you how to say it properly!

Fourth: Take advantage of close cognates! Many Turkish words have been borrowed from English and French, especially for sciences, technology, business, and new concepts. Otel is ‘hotel’, taksi is “taxi”, seyyar is “cellphone” (cellular).

Online Resources

Memrise: We’ve mentioned this one before.  Memrise used spaced repetition to help you remember vocabulary.  Several user-generated courses (vocabulary sets) are aimed specifically at the beginning or casual learner.  Even better, Memrise offers a free app, and will take about 5 minutes (or less) to learn five new words every day. That’s 300 words in 2 months – enough to get by.

Try out these courses: Turkish-Turkce, Basic Turkish, All the Basics of Turkish

Or these micro-courses: TurkceBeginner Turkish, Basic Turkish,

Hands on Turkish: Though officially a “business Turkish” course, this free interactive course (and mobile app) created by the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Program, offers a great introduction to the written and spoken Turkish language for travel.  The course leads you through several common situations (arriving at the airport, taking a cab, eating in a restaurant) through dialogue, vocabulary games, and fill-in-the-blank.  Perhaps the most useful feature of this program is that it allows you to listen to the recording, record yourself saying the phrase, and then compare your recording with the original – a great way to tell if people will actually be able to understand what you’re trying to say!

First Steps in Turkish: Hosted on the Hands on Turkish Website, this is a beginner-beginner’s guide to the Turkish language. Navigate your way through basic situations and pick up enough skills to make it from point A to point B and order that delicious-looking honeyed baklava with crumbled pistachio for dessert. The site also has a great blog with topics covering Turkish language and culture.

Easy Languages: Easy Turkish These youtube videos cover a bunch of useful topics.  If you are in a rush, just see this video covering the 20 most useful phrases.

turkish-tea-time-front-logoTurkish Tea Time Podcasts: Over 100 free episodes covering everything from newbie lessons in going to the bank to ordering in a restaurant to more advanced topics like zombies and verb complimentation. Each podcast has a dialogue recorded by native speakers, grammar explanation, and line-by-line practice and analysis. Look for the podcasts labeled ‘newbie’ or ‘beginner’.

 

Learn Turkish | TurkishClass101.comTurkish Class 101: Podcast, youtube videos and website (with both free and paid content).  The focus is on spoken Turkish and common vocabulary, which should be of great use to travelers and tourists.  Some of their podcasts also introduce aspects of Turkish culture, which is great for anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about the country before they set off.

BBC Languages: Turkish A very brief guide to the Turkish language, including audio recordings of the alphabet and 20 essential phrases.

Why Duolingo isn’t on this list: Duolingo is a fantastic online tool for teaching beginners a language’s grammar structures and basic vocabulary.  However, the focus is on being able to create and comprehend 100% grammatically correct sentences, not on expressing yourself in everyday situations.  Few of the sentences in the program are of actual use to travelers

Dictionaries and PhraseBooks

Fast & Easy Turkish Phrase Book and Dictionary:  turkish phrase bookThis is a pocket-sized phrase book, dictionary, and grammar guide in one with far more extensive situational coverage than most books its size..  It’s great to throw in your bag for the day, and offers far more than just basics like,”Where is the hotel?”. The writer (B. Orhan Dogan) is also a linguist and author of several language textbooks, so he takes a much more learner-directed approach than more commercial phrase books.

Sesli Sozluk: This is the tried and true go-to English-Turkish, Turkish-English dictionary with a fast and functional app featuring auto-complete, vocal recordings, and the ability to save new words.

InFlightTurkish (Living Language) This free compact PDF covers all the basics from greetings to numbers to getting around in twenty pages.  If you can’t memorize everything on the plane, the packet is thin enough (just 20 pages) to print off and stick in your day bag for  easy reference.

kitap_conceptTake Away Turkish Grammar, short dialogues, clear audio recordings, and practical vocabulary for both traveling and everyday life in an easy-to-understand, bright and fun format. Some of the material is slightly more difficult, but it still has a reference section in that back that operates as a phrase book.

If you are looking for a clear introduction to the Turkish language, the EU’s LifeLong Learning Program – Speak and Learn Project here has a great overview, as does the affiliated lingvopedia.

Have any other resources that you love?  Let us know in the comments below!

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