Turkey is a multicultural country, and while it is highly
diverse, there are still some things foreigners should know before moving here.
People from all around the world have chosen the cities of Turkey to live in
for access to better opportunities, while some have selected Turkey as their
retirement destination and settled in the stunning coastal towns and villages
of this country.
Today’s blog discusses 9 things every foreigner should know before moving to Turkey.
1. Permits to Live in Turkey
Foreigners can visit Turkey on a 90-day visa. However, those who want to move to Turkey must get a residence permit or work permit to reside legally in Turkey. You can apply for a residence permit on the e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr website.
If a foreigner gets employment, they will need a work permit to stay and work in Turkey. You can read our blog post, 5 Best Jobs in Turkey for Foreigners, to learn more about the jobs available for foreigners in Turkey.
You can also watch Prime Property Turkey’s "Weekly Report" Ep. 5, where our hosts Justin and Peter discuss the new updates regarding obtaining residency in Turkey through property.
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2. Shop Like a Turk
Shopping is the favorite past-time of the Turkish people. Every week, street markets, or what Turks call “Sosyete Pazarı,” are set up where Turkish people stock up on the freshest fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
The best part is that the prices are economical despite the fantastic produce available, and this is because the buyers are getting their groceries directly from producers.
You will discover some great finds here in clothing and accessories since many of these markets have stalls selling export-quality surplus items.
For antique lovers, Turkey has unique flea markets that sell old books, antique decor, etc.
So, when you move to Turkey, ditch the grocery store and visit your local weekly street and flea markets for the best deals.
3. Turkish Diet & Cuisine
Turkish cuisine dates back to the Ottoman Empire and has many vegetable and meat dishes. Turkish people also love to have soup, especially during winter.
Yaprak Sarma is a delicious vegetable dish that includes rolls of vine leaves filled with a mixture of rice, onions, etc. In addition, Turkish kebabs such as Adana Kebab, Iskender Kebab, etc., are world famous for their mouth-watering tastes.
Once you try Turkish food, you will know it is unlike any other food you have tasted.
Moreover, Turkish people enjoy eating seasonal fruits and vegetables packed with flavor and readily available at stores and markets.
Further Reading: Guide to Moving to Turkey From the USA
4. Know the Cultural Differences
Turkish people are, in general, highly friendly. Foreign nationals moving to Turkey find it extremely easy to make friends. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and introduce yourself.
In terms of culture, there are some things you should know before moving here. Always take your shoes off when entering the home of a Turk. The host will offer you a spare pair of slippers to wear inside.
Turkish people value and respect their guests, which is why they will do anything to make them feel welcome and comfortable. So, if you get invited over for dinner by a Turk, expect a large amount of food on the table since Turkish people are highly hospitable.
5. Cost of Living in Turkey
The average salary in Turkey is around 10,000 per month. Compared to their home countries, expats from the USA and EU can live in Turkey in comfort and ease since housing, bills, groceries, etc., are a lot cheaper. Except for certain areas, you can easily find apartments, villas, and homes almost everywhere in Turkey.
Transport costs are also low since affordable metro trains, buses, and trams can take you anywhere you want without hassle.
We have a detailed blog post on the Cost Breakdown of Retiring in Turkey that you can check out to find out more about the cost of living in Turkey.
Further Reading: Living in Turkey as a Digital Nomad
6. Try to Pick up Some Turkish
Turkish holds 15th place as the world’s most-spoken first language. Many locals in expat-heavy towns and major cities in Turkey, like Istanbul, can speak English. However, since Turkish is the national language, government agencies communicate in Turkish and knowing some basics of the language can help in such situations.
You can start off slow by learning one word per day and move on to memorize phrases.
Further Reading: Residency by Investment in Turkey
7. Try Local Goods
You probably want to ship some of your favorite furniture pieces and decor when you move to Turkey, but that may not be such a smart thing to do. Not only is it an utter hassle, but you will also have to pay exorbitant taxes.
Consider buying your furniture and decor locally since numerous local companies such as Koctas, Istikbal Mobilya and Bellona sell exceptional furniture designs at economical prices to decorate your home.
8. Weather in Turkey
Since Turkey spans Asia and Europe, people who live here enjoy all four seasons. The Mediterranean Region gets quite hot during the summer, while the temperatures are not extreme in the winter. In Istanbul, the summers are dry and humid. However, Istanbul receives rain and snow during the winter.
You can choose the region of Turkey you want to live in based on your temperature preferences.
9. Benefit From the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program
Turkey is one of the best countries for investors to tap into since it has a massive property market. Furthermore, there is also a myriad of incentives offered to foreign investors.
One of the biggest ones being the acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by investment. This program, initiated by the Turkish government, allows foreigners to become Turkish citizens via a real estate investment of at least USD 400,000 and agree not to sell it for a minimum of three years.
Taking advantage of this program will be profitable in the long run since you can get your hands on a powerful passport and reside in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Further Reading: Is Buying Property in Turkey a Good Investment?
A Final Word
Turkey offers foreigners an incredibly healthy way of living and a wonderful climate. Expats living in Turkey have no trouble settling in and benefitting from the many available facilities.
We hope this blog post helped you understand Turkey and prepared you for your move to this gorgeous country. You can contact us so that we can help you find the home of your dreams.
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